The entry fee to the Springfield Natatorium for Ozark and Nixa swimmers could increase by as much 750 percent this school year.
The Springfield Public Schools District has notified outlying schools who swim at ‘The Nat’ for practices and meets of a new usage rate effective immediately. The usage rate varies in accordance to the number of combined boys and girls swimmers at each school.
In the case of Ozark and Nixa, both figure to be in the participant classification of 21-40 and thus each will pay SPS a $15,000 usage rate. It adds up to a likely hike of $13,000.
“Historically, we have 20-30 swimmers each year and (our usage rate) has been $1,000 per season (for boys and girls),” Ozark athletics director Yancey Little said.
Ozark and Nixa will pay $20,000 should they have 41 swimmers or more.
The new usage rates for 1-5 swimmers is $2,500, 6-10 swimmers is $5,000 and 11-20 swimmers is $10,000.
Do the math and in many cases outlying schools will be paying SPS on average $375-$500 a swimmer.
Nixa athletics director Brandon Clark said it is his understanding the SPS is not making a huge profit by instituting hikes in usage rates.
“It is mainly to help cover the cost of yearly maintenance that is required for the pool,” Clark said.
Ozark and Nixa do not have swim coaches on staff. Ozark swimmers are coached by Glendale coach Steve Boyce, while Nixa swimmers are coached by Kickapoo coach Pete Hill.