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Lightning puts pool out of commission

News editor

Recreational swimmers, water aerobics classes, and school swimming activities were left high and dry from electrical damage caused by the Sept. 1 thunderstorm that shut down the pool at the Sports and Aquatics Center.

Superintendent Lee Leiker told the Marion-Florence board of education about the problems Monday at their regular board meeting.

“Lightning hit the power lines and burned up our pump and an electrical control box,” USD 408 Leiker said. “It would be difficult to keep the water conditioned chemically without the pump running.”

The timeline for re-opening the pool depends on when replacement parts arrive, Leiker said.

“We had to order parts for that. The pump is in, and the panel should be here next week,” he said. Tabor’s swim team is scheduled to begin practice at the end of the month, and Leiker was optimistic the repairs would be finished.

The shutdown gives the district an opportunity to address additional maintenance issues.

“When you get the pool empty, it’s a great time to do some extra cleaning,” Leiker said.

Yellowed areas of paint also will be getting retouched.

“The paint is good, the quality is good, but it discolored in places where they did some touch up painting,” Leiker said. “The paint was guaranteed by the company originally, so they will come in and do that at no charge.”

Leiker said 20 solar panels on the roof of the center were damaged in the storm, and that estimates for repairs were being obtained.

In other business:

  • An alternative natural gas purchase program, Kansas Joint Utilities Management Program, was approved. The program is managed by the Kansas Association of School Boards, and Leiker said the district could save $15,000 a year.
  • Shuttle service to Florence for students following away sporting events was terminated on a trial basis for fall sports.
  • Donna Fadenrecht of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk, and Loyd said there were no substantial findings in the recent annual district audit. She said district cash balances have gotten lower, a condition similar to other districts she has audited, and that state finance reductions were the cause.

Last modified Sept. 11, 2014

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