Supes support high school pool project
All five members of the board expressed support last week for the LHS plan to build an enclosed pool on the old softball field on the southeast side of the Credence High School campus near the intersection of Gay and Cottage streets.
Retired LHS Superintendent Danny Lewis presented the details of the proposed $9.8 million pool to the board last week. The plans drawn up two years ago include a 25-meter pool, which will be converted to yards for high school competition, with male and female locker rooms, a snack bar, a training room, mechanical room and terraced bleachers. Geothermal energy is available on the Credence campus to heat the pool.
Two optional one-meter diving boards may be included.
“We may or may not have those because of the liability issues that go along with pools,” Lewis said.
Called a noratorium, meaning a swimming pool inside a building, the facility would total 16,000 square feet with a pool surface area of about 4,500, he said.
LHS has not submitted final plans for the project.
“It has been turned into the department of the state architect,” Lewis said. “But because of these revisions we’re making, we don’t have what we call a stamped plan that’s come out with all the red lines on it yet.”
The district owns the land, so the cost estimate from 2005 only includes construction expenses. To build the pool itself costs $165 a sq. ft. The building, locker rooms and related facilities cost around $380 a sq. ft., Lewis said.
“So the majority of that money is not in what we’re going to be using in terms of teaching kids how to swim,” he said. “It’s in the building and the enclosure, the structure.”
Lewis said it will cost about $380,000 a year to operate a pool. That money will have to come from the community, the city of Susanville, and Lassen Community College, said LHS Board of Trustees President Ken Theobald, because teaching students swimming in school will not generate any extra money. Theobald agreed the community must have a pool.
A fence will separate the facility from the Credence campus, which currently boasts about 70 students in attendance. A parking lot and driveway off Gay and Cottage streets will also help separate the public from the students, Lewis said.
“We looked at this as an instructional component at the high school, and, of course, … the five feeder elementary districts,” he said. “So … a very detailed calendar, much like I’m sure the city had when they were operating Roosevelt pool, about usage is going to have to be developed.”
A contract between the city recreation department and the high school could spell out the scheduling details, Lewis said. He added there will be plenty of time for the public to use the pool. Schools will offer swimming in physical education classes between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
“At 6 o’clock in the morning, at noon, from 3 o’clock on and up till the evening hours of 10 or 11 o’clock, that pool will be available for the community, as well as weekends,” he said, adding the pool will be open all summer for swim lessons, parties and other uses.
Since pools are no longer included in the joint-use-project funding available through the Office of Public School Construction, County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen said a joint powers agency could issue certificates of participation without putting the issue on the ballot, which would require two-thirds voter approval. Ketelsen said income from city swim lessons and college swim classes could help repay the certificates.
He added the board may have more important issues to put before voters in 2008.
“We have the ambulance issue and the fire service issue that we have to address countywide and I don’t know how that fits in competing with trying to fund a pool,” Ketelsen said. “If you’re going to have a ballot measure, the higher priority, it seems to me, is going to be the ambulance and the fire.”
District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson said the joint-powers agreement for a pool project the city of Susanville presented in September did not address the high school project. Hanson said the JPA could be rewritten to fit the high school project.
The board directed Ketelsen to investigate how to structure the financing for the pool project. Lewis promised to present the LHS pool project to the city, other school districts and Lassen College by the end of January. He also promised to come back to the board and give it feedback about the response from the other districts.
Board Chairman and District 4 Supervisor Brian Dahle directed county staff to bring back a resolution saying the board supports the high school pool project and wants to partner with LHS in the project.
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