City & WUSD Finally Secure Six-Year Agreement for WAFC

Editor’s note: For over three years the Whitewater Aquatic & Fitness Center operated without the benefit of the necessary agreement between the City of Whitewater, the center’s operator, and the Whitewater Unified School District, the facility’s owner. It was on April 2, 2023 that an ad hoc committee of representatives of the two bodies held their organizational meeting, and since then there have been many meetings of the committee and the full bodies, with significant disagreement evidenced on a number of items. According to the following press release from the city dated June 7, 2024, a new six-year agreement was finally signed on May 28, 2024. Following the press release is a more detailed statement that was provided by City Manager John Weidl.

The City of Whitewater and WUSD Secure Six-Year Agreement for WAFC
The City of Whitewater and the Whitewater Unified School District (WUSD) have successfully entered into a six-year partnership to jointly fund the operational costs and capital equipment needs of the Whitewater Aquatic and Fitness Center (WAFC). This agreement guarantees the continued operation of the WAFC for at least the next six years.

Moving forward, the city is committed to enhancing the WAFC by making significant improvements to locker rooms, and birthday party offerings, and upgrading technology for a better user experience. With the security provided by this agreement, the city is now able to move forward confidently with staffing, operational, and equipment updates.

Now that the agreement is finalized, the city will launch a comprehensive fundraising platform to ensure the WAFC receives support from a diverse range of contributors. This includes memberships, taxpayer contributions, fundraising efforts, donations, and programming fees, such as birthday party rentals. This strategy aims to establish a sustainable future for the WAFC, providing essential amenities to the community and securing the necessary resources to attract and retain crucial staff.

“The WAFC is an important asset to our community, and I am thankful an agreement has been reached to ensure a stable partnership between the city and school district,” said Patrick Singer, Common Council President for the City of Whitewater, “I am extremely grateful for the hard work both organizations put into making this a reality. The efforts for an equitable and sustainable agreement mark a pivotal moment for our community, ensuring the WAFC’s continued operation and growth. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on our community for years to come.”

City Manager John S. Weidl expressed his gratitude, saying, “I am extremely grateful for the school district’s partnership in the WAFC and want the community to understand that it truly is a joint effort and we couldn’t have done it without them. I especially want to thank the new school board president for seeing this agreement over the finish line.”

Weidl also acknowledged late Council President Jim Allen’s contributions: “On behalf of the City, I want to extend a special thank you to former Council President Jim Allen. His dedication to pushing for a long-term agreement and his participation in the negotiations were crucial. He would be happy to see this agreement finalized.” Kevin Boehm, Parks and Recreation Director, added, “I have been down at the WAFC helping implement new software and working closely with the staff. I see the improvements firsthand and I’m very excited for this next chapter in the WAFC. This agreement allows us to build on our
successes and continue providing top-notch services to our community.”

Statement from City Manager John Weidl dated June 8, 2024

The recently negotiated Lease and Operation Agreement between the City of Whitewater and the Whitewater Unified School District underscores the City’s significant commitment to maintaining and operating the Aquatic Facility. This new agreement marks a shift from the previous arrangement, where costs, including operational overruns, were shared equally between both parties, however significant financing and operations challenges persisted under this framework.

Below is an assessment of the new responsibilities, followed by a discussion highlighting how the City is assuming a significantly larger role.

Assessment of Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the City:

1. Lease Payment: The City leases the Aquatic Facility from the School District for a nominal fee of $1.00 annually.

2. Operational Control: The City holds exclusive control over the scheduling, allocation, and leasing of space within the Leased Premises, ensuring that the facility meets both the School District’s program needs and the general public’s recreational needs.

3. Staffing: The City is responsible for all staffing at the Aquatic Facility, excluding the District Locker Room Facility. This includes hiring, wages, benefits, and compliance with employment laws, as well as conducting appropriate background checks for personnel.

4. Operations Budget Contribution: The City contributes $258,767 towards operational costs in the first year, with a 3% increase annually thereafter.

5. Capital Budget Contribution: The City and the School District each contribute $100,000 annually towards capital repairs and improvements for the first three years of the agreement.

6. Fundraising: The City is solely responsible for any fundraising efforts necessary to support the Aquatic Facility. This includes seeking private donations and other sources of funding, despite the facility and its fixtures being under the ownership of the School District.

7. Use of Facility: The City ensures the facility serves as a public recreation center, coordinating schedules to balance the School District’s needs with those of the general public.

Responsibilities of the School District:

1. Lease Payment: The School District pays $7,500 annually to the City for using the Aquatic Facility for curricular, special education, and extracurricular purposes.

2. District Locker Room Facility: The School District has exclusive use and control over its locker room facility, responsible for its maintenance, repair, and associated utility costs.

3. Operations Budget Contribution: The School District contributes $178,000 towards operational costs in the first year, with a 3% increase annually thereafter.

4. Program Scheduling: The School District provides a proposed schedule for its program needs each year and is entitled to use the facility for at least the same amount of time as during the 2023-24 school year.

5. Summer Programs: If the School District offers summer aquatics instruction, it manages all associated costs and supervision, integrating the schedule into the overall facility use plan.

The City’s Enhanced Commitment

The new agreement highlights the City’s commitment to ensuring the Aquatic Facility continues to serve the community’s recreational needs efficiently and effectively. Here’s how the City is stepping up to ensure the future of the facility:

1. Financial Contributions:

– Operational Costs: The City is shouldering a larger portion of the operational costs. In the first year, the City contributes $258,767, while the School District’s contribution is $178,000. This disparity grows each year with a 3% annual increase for both parties.

– Deficit Responsibility: The City is solely responsible for any operational budget deficits, ensuring the facility’s financial stability without additional burden on the School District.

– Capital Improvements: Both parties contribute equally to capital repairs and improvements in the initial three years. However, this commitment is noteworthy given the City’s additional financial responsibilities.

2. Fundraising Efforts:

– Sole Responsibility: The City is solely responsible for any fundraising efforts necessary to support the Aquatic Facility, despite the facility and its fixtures being owned by the School District. This adds another layer of responsibility on the City, ensuring that the facility remains financially sustainable through private donations and other funding sources.

3. Operational Control and Staffing:

– Exclusive Control: The City has exclusive control over the scheduling, allocation, and leasing of space within the facility, ensuring it meets the needs of both the School District and the general public. This task requires substantial administrative effort and coordination.

– Staffing Responsibilities: The City is responsible for staffing the Aquatic Facility, including hiring, wages, benefits, and compliance with relevant employment laws. The School District only manages staffing for its specific scheduled programs, which is a much narrower scope.

4. Infrastructure and Maintenance:

– Locker Room Facility: While the School District maintains exclusive control and responsibility for the District Locker Room Facility, the City’s responsibilities extend to the broader facility, ensuring it remains a clean, safe, and operational public space.

5. Scheduling and Program Management:

– Annual Schedules: The City must accommodate the School District’s program needs while balancing the general public’s recreational requirements. This involves creating and adhering to comprehensive annual schedules and resolving any conflicts.

– Summer Programs: If the School District decides to offer summer aquatics instruction, the City must integrate this into the overall schedule, potentially providing facility personnel to assist.


The City of Whitewater’s increased responsibilities under the new Lease and Operation Agreement demonstrate its dedication to community recreation. By taking on a larger share of financial and operational duties, including fundraising efforts, the City ensures the Aquatic Facility remains a vital resource for all residents. This new framework also aims to reduce political friction and reliance on informal communication networks, ensuring a more transparent and efficient operation. The City’s commitment goes above and beyond the equal cost-sharing arrangement of the previous agreement, reflecting a proactive approach to enhancing community amenities and ensuring the facility is managed appropriately and sustainably.

Share This
Posted in