BHS aquatic center to open for public use

District officials are working on a use policy after partnering with the Brainerd Family YMCA to offer staff at the new pool.

Brainerd High School Aquatics Center Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
Brainerd High School Aquatics Center Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in May 2022.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — Parameters are in the works to allow public use of Brainerd High School’s new aquatic center.

The competition-size pool built was part of the 2018 bonding referendum officially opened last year for district students, and thanks to an agreement with the Brainerd Family YMCA, the public will be able to enjoy its use as well.

Brainerd School Board members approved the agreement during their meeting Monday, May 8. Under the contract, YMCA staff members will help the district create a use policy for the facility and operate it for community activities like lap swimming, swimming lessons, fitness classes and open swim.

“It’ll allow us to increase our opportunities for community members to use the facility for programming such as swimming lessons and aquatic fitness and take advantage of the YMCA as expertise in the area of aquatics,” Community Education Director Annmarie Lacher told the board Monday.

The YMCA employs an aquatic director who trains lifeguards and hires aquatic staff, which is something the school district does not have the capacity to do.


“The YMCA’s policies are very safety driven, so they’ll help us come up with some operating use policies that we don’t have the knowledge to do on our own,” Lacher said.

Those policies, including information like specific uses and hours of operations, are still in the works.

The agreement will not cost the district any money, as the staffing cost for the YMCA will be covered by activity fees from those using the pool.

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“It’s got win/win written all over it,” Board Chair Kevin Boyles said. “… It allows us to use the pool facility to a much greater extent, and it allows us to bring expertise in that we can’t possibly hire from outside.”

With so many people asking about the opportunity to use the pool since it opened, board member Sarah Speer said she is thrilled about the partnership.

The agreement the board approved Monday is valid for three years, with an option to review it each year to make sure it is working well for both parties.

In other business Monday, the School Board:

Approved new hires: Emma Abramo, school readiness teacher at Warrior Early Learning Center; Emily Anderson, special education teacher at Riverside Elementary; Brandy Haglin, online school coordinator and curriculum specialist at Brainerd High School; Claire Horn, music teacher at Lowell Elementary; Angelina Nelson, special education teacher at Lowell Elementary; Claire Norlin, early childhood special education teacher at Washington Educational Services Building; Wendy Willis, early childhood special education teacher at Washington Educational Services Building; Rosalie Rodgers, cook at Forestview Middle School; Daniel Bzdok, districtwide substitute teacher; Jolanta Gedviliene, districtwide substitute cook; Bradley Johnson, districtwide substitute teacher; Gabrielle Speliopoulos, districtwide substitute teacher; Allyson Brzezinski, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Baxter Elementary; Jennifer Fitch, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Harrison Elementary; Christopher Fogderud, summer band lessons at Brainerd High School; Elizabeth Hanson, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Baxter Elementary; Jerremiah Johnson, head hockey coach at Brainerd High School; Maggie Judd, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Riverside Elementary; Sarah Kuehl, community education girls lacrosse coach at Forestview; Natalie Otto, districtwide community education assistant lacrosse coach; James Reed, science, technology, engineering and math teacher at Forestview; Wendy Romano, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Baxter Elementary; Alexis Sherman, Fun ‘N Friends program assistant at Baxter Elementary; Kryston Wiseley, voice instructor at Forestview; Leslie Zander, summer orchestra lessons at Forestview.


Accepted donations to the district: $150 from Brainerd Community Action for the BHS a cappella choir; $1,000 from Graphic Packaging for BHS robotics; $100 from Mary Paulson for BHS band; $25 memorial donation in honor of Leroy Beeby for the community action youth tennis program; $500 from Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union for the BHS Warrior closet; $2,000 from Dorcas for the BHS Warrior closet; $2,500 from Brainerd Rotary Club for the BHS Warrior Warehouse; four string trimmers, seven chainsaws, one leaf blower, miscellaneous trimming line, replacement spools harnesses and scabbards from Ace Hardware for the buildings and grounds department.

Approved a contract with Reichert for 2023-24 transportation services at a cost of $310.84 per bus per day for regular routes.

Rescheduled the June and July Finance Committee meetings to June 7 and July 15.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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