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City Agrees To Help MCPS Fund Repairs For Aquatic Center

Gaithersburg will contribute up to 50 percent of the cost of structural repairs for the facility.

The Gaithersburg mayor and City Council approved Monday a resolution to contribute funds to aid Montgomery County Public Schools in structural repairs at the Gaithersburg Aquatic Center.

The city will contribute up to half of the cost — $300,000 out of a total $600,000 — for repairs that include failing structural columns and corroding steel elements, such as steel floor joists and railings.

MCPS, which is responsible for maintaining the structure, does not have enough funds in the budget to pay for the repairs itself. Without help from the city, it could take a few years before repairs can be completed, Gaithersburg Director of Public Works Jim Arnoult said at a Council meeting Monday night.

Council Member Jud Ashman expressed his concern with setting a precedent that Gaithersburg will step up to help financially in situations like this in the future.

"It's a tough precedent for us to contribute to what MCPS is supposed to be taking care of," Ashman said. He later added that, "MCPS has a much, much larger budget than [Gaithersburg], but here we are splitting [the cost]."

Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz, supporting the resolution, said the precedent had been set in the city before, with Gaithersburg fronting money on many occasions.

"We need to have this done," Katz said.

Once funding is approved by the city and Board of Education, the repair work is estimated to take approximately six months, MCPS spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said. 

The aquatic center has been closed since Gaithersburg’s Facilities Maintenance staff discovered cracks in perimeter wall support columns during an inspection on Jan. 25.

The aquatic center is housed in Gaithersburg Middle School.

Janis December 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Score another one for MCPS. How much is the MCPS budget? $2.2 Billion? The Board of Education and the County Council just approved a plan whereby MCPS will buy $8.9 Million worth of a brand name product without taking any bids. Imagine if that one purchase was put out for bids - as per Maryland law - and saved even $300,000. There would be the money for the pool. But, by skirting Maryland law, and by citizens voting in elected officials that happily ignore Maryland law, Gaithersburg citizens get tapped twice for a repair of a Board of Education property.

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