The Shawnee Mission School District and the Johnson County Park and Recreation District are still ironing out systems and programs for the new Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center, located across from Lenexa City Hall at 17251 W. 87th Street.
After four years of planning and construction, the $27.8 million aquatic center opened at Lenexa’s City Center in December 2019. (Funding for the project came from the district’s 2015 bond issue, which provided finances for capital projects. That money cannot be used on classroom expenses like teacher salary under Kansas law). Since then, the district’s Director of Athletics and Student Activities Richard Kramer has been working alongside JCPRD Aquatics Manager Marshall McKinney to develop an entry system and programs that allow students under the age of 16 access to the facility. With a successful boys season under its belt and the girls season starting up, Kramer said that overall, the facility has been a positive step forward for the district’s swim programs.
“So far, it has been really a very, very positive thing for our community,” Kramer said. “Our swimmers love it, I think it’s brought some wonderful accolades to the district, and I think it’s going to continue to really expand our brand.”
Kramer said that currently, the two parties are looking at a system similar to that of the district’s fitness center: People who provide an identification card to ensure they are part of the district community will have access to the facilities at certain times. The information technology teams at both the district and JCPRD are working together to find a suitable solution to keep track of patrons, he said.
The program would potentially allow Shawnee Mission student and employee identification cards and barcodes to work with JCPRD’s barcode system. Until then, McKinney said patrons are signing in manually. As this process moves forward, Kramer said the district hopes it would be as simple as having a student scan their ID with their barcode and head inside.
Looking at offering swim lesson opportunities to younger students
Elementary student would not be able to use the facility at this time, because the aquatic center is using the same rules and regulations as the fitness center at the Center for Academic Achievement, which is open to students ages 16 and up.
Kramer said the district is also looking at a program to allow all students to access to swim lessons at the facility, and is working on how that might relate to the curriculum and instructional time.
“Those pieces will be worked out eventually, once we get the first process down [as to] how JCPRD and SMSD will interface,” Kramer said. “The next step would be, once that has become a foundation, then we’ll start expanding and looking at our programs.”
The administration under former Superintendent Jim Hinson has indicated that students would have access to swim lessons at the facility free of charge when the district first proposed the aquatic center as part of the $233 million bond issue approved by district voters back in 2015.
Currently, Shawnee Mission swim teams are given priority for the space, including for swim practice and meets. High school swim teams are using the space Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays, Kramer said. When the teams aren’t using the pool, McKinney is able to schedule practices or meets for outside swim teams. Johnson County residents and non-Johnson County residents already have access to the facility through day passes — $8 for a member guest pass, $10 for a regular pass — and membership options.
The pool schedule for members, including hours and numbers of lanes open to the public, can be found online. McKinney said the hours are subject to change, as there are three different seasons at the facility (summer, regular in-school, and Shawnee Mission schools swim season). Below are the Johnson County resident membership rates, which can only be purchased in-person:
- A 30-day membership (pay as you go): $35 for youth ages 3 to 17; $55 for adults ages 18 to 59; and $47 for senior citizens
- A monthly membership (automatically debited): $25 for youth; $45 for adults; $37 for senior citizens
- Annual membership: $270 for youth; $432 for adults; $346 for senior citizens