Common words spoken from the Laramie Plainsmen students and faculty include: “Albany County School District 1 spends a large amount on unsuccessful sports, aside from this years win, when is the last time swimming did anything monumental? Last year Liam McInroy won state skiing, do we have state of the art ski trails in our school? No!” senior Holly Woodhal said. “Why do we have two diving towers? Do the divers even use them?” Baden Jordan said.

The Laramie High School is a 300,000 square foot building that is on forty-three acres of land. The construction of the new school was estimated at around $87.15 million, $80.3 million was supplied through state funding. The main features of the school include a 25 yard pool with two diving towers, two synthetic turf fields, five tennis courts, two full gymnasiums, 12 science labs, three music rooms, two art labs, an auto shop, a wood shop and much more.

Many tend to focus on the cost of the pool, little do they know that the swimming pool is used everyday from 6 a.m until 8 p.m. The swimming pool is used multiple times a day by the Laramie High School Swimming and Diving team, the University of Wyoming Swimming and Diving Team, the Laramie Swim Club, various gym classes, Junior High Swimming and used to teach swim lessons during the summer. The swimming pools cost was around $12 million, all of which came from a bond.

With the construction of the pool the voters of Albany County were given the opportunity to vote for a $25 million bond that is voter-funded enhancement. The bond was passed with 4,118 votes for the bond and 2,415 against, 63 percent win for the bond. When the bond was voted upon, the budget plan was available to the voters, so the voters were well aware of where the money was planned to be spent. The rest of the bond was spent on stadium seating for the football team, enlarging the commons area and adding more science labs. The bond estimated that an owner of a $100,000 home will cost them $38 a year. A lot of amenities in the pool were privately funded: the scoreboard, blocks and diving towers were all paid from donations. Coach Tom Hudson estimated that $250,000 was donated to the pool. All not giving into the bond at all.

“Anytime we have a competition here, it brings multiple teams and many times they have to spend the night, that’s generating a lot of money. We used to not be able to host big meets because the Rec Center pool and our old high school were not big enough to host meets,” Hudson said.

The pool will be housing multiple large events. Many have been hosted and more are expected to be held throughout the upcoming year; Laramie High School Girls Conference, Laramie High School Boys State, Swim Club State, Wyoming Diving Club, and meets for the University of Wyoming. All these events bring in revenue, not only to our school, but to our community as well.

“Wyoming Swimming Winter State will bring 600 athletes plus parents and that generates probably 1,500 people in the town of Laramie for almost four days, spending money in hotels and restaurants, and downtown shopping and going to the bowling alley is just stimulating the economy. Just because this pool is able to host a lot of big competitions,” Hudson said.

Other than the swimming pool, large amounts were spent on other things such as the football field and track. The football field and a scoreboard cost a few million dollars and nobody really says anything. Also, money was spent on the track and it isn’t even able to host meets, I understand that it’s the construction company’s fault, but the track is still unusable and we put a lot of money for that facility. My point being why complain about the pool when there are legitimate things wrong with the school that should be complained about. Someone was there to advocate for the pool and it turned out be a an amazing facility, no one was there to advocate for the track and look what happened.

“What people need to understand is that just because the pool is nice it didn’t take money away from other things, this money was raised for the pool, that was the price we had to pay, and that’s what we raised. I advocated for this pool, I went to every meeting, I stood in the grocery store every Saturday and Sunday for four months passing out flyers, mailing signs for people’s yards and I went to hundreds of hours of meetings and stuff to advocate to build the pool,” Hudson said.  

Hudson made sure that the importance of the swimming pool and the need for money was expressed throughout our community, which really contributed to the quality of our pool. Hudson was actively involved in the planning and building of our pool, when he saw something wrong he found a solution, because of that we are able to have nicer facilities.

Because the University of Wyoming Swimming and Diving teams uses our swimming pool so much we have negotiated a trade with them that enables the soccer players to use the indoor practice field when the weather is bad. The University of Wyoming is also charged $100 an hour for use of the pool. The UW team hosted four meets at the pool and have four practices a week.

The pool is greatly used throughout the community and is appreciated by other people in the state.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity to be able to swim in the new pool, compared to other pools in the State this pool is really helping me improve my swimming capabilities,” former sophomore Cheyenne East swimmer Sage Morton said.

Next time someone starts to complain about the pool they should really consider the backstory behind it and how it is positively affecting our community and school.