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$15.5 million Jackson High School aquatic center, entryway project ready to begin

JACKSON, MI – Part of the west parking lot has been fenced off and crews are ready to break ground on a 38,400-square-foot addition at Jackson High School.

The $15.5 million project includes a new aquatic center addition and a redesigned entryway into the building. The money comes from the $86.7 million bond voters approved in 2018.

The eight-lane pool is a deep-water course, Superintendent Jeff Beal said, and is two lanes wider than the current pool at Jackson High School. It is wide enough that lanes can be set up across the length or width of the pool.

Every school in Jackson Public Schools is getting upgrades to building entrances through the bond, to make them safe and secure, Beal said. At JHS, this includes moving some of the offices to the exterior.

The first $15 million in bids for the pool were approved by the Jackson School Board on Oct. 28. Bids for metal panels and flooring still need to be approved, which is expected to cost another $500,000 to $600,000, said John Ruddell, JPS assistant superintendent of finance and operations.

The project came in about $1.5 million over budget, at which point the district had contractors go back and find areas to trim. Nearly $1 million was able to be cut, Ruddell said, mostly for scaffolding and metal panels.

Nearly half of the bids accepted come from within 40 miles of Jackson, Ruddell said. To see the full list of contractors and bids, click here.

Community swim classes are currently hosted at The Middle School at Parkside, but will be moved to the new aquatic center once it's finished, Beal said.

"The pool is really built with the community in mind," Beal said this summer. "It's got a boys locker room, a girls locker room and a community use locker room with open lockers but private changing rooms."

The project is expected to take 18 months and be finished for the 2021-22 school year. In a later bond phase, JPS plans to fill in the current JHS pool and make it a multipurpose room for everything from cheerleading to wrestling to gym classes, Beal said.