A consultant's report released last Friday by the indicates that, no matter how you slice it, there's a lot of work to be done to bring the district's aging swim centers into compliance with current health and safety codes.
Since last October, the swimming pools at both Encinal and Alameda high schools have related to the age of the facilities.
The report indicates a range of problems, from leaks at both high school sites to non-functioning underwater lights. Each site has a total of eight code violations, including those related disabled access, the pools' finishes, and a blocked drain at Encinal. The full report, which details all the violations, possibilities for upgrades, and their associated costs, is here.
"They are what they are," said AUSD's Chief Business Officer Robert Shemwell of the swim centers, both of which were constructed in the 1950s. "Anyone that looks at them can see that they’re old and greatly in need of repair."
While the District does receive money for facilities and maintenance from the state, says Shemwell, those dollars generally go to educational facilities, not swimming pools. "If you have to chose, do you maintain instructional facilities or do you maintain swimming pools?"
While the figures in the report — $95,000 to fix a "scum gutter" at Alameda High $1.6 million to replace a pool entirely, for example — will be useful as guides, says Shemwell, the actual figures would be determined if the work were actually bid out.
"The dollar values give us a context for framing decision-making," said Shemwell. "But they are not hard and fast."
"I hope folks don’t concentrate so much on the numbers," said Shemwell, who says he hopes the report, which details many options for proper repair, maintenance and even replacement of the facilities, will help the ccommunity come together to develop solutions.
"We want pools that are available every day, all the time," said Shemwell. "And to have that type of facility for the ccommunity as a whole is going to take a community solution."
On March 29 a committee of city and AUSD officials will meet to discuss the needs assessment report and also the potential for creating of an operating agreement between the school district and the city for the care and upkeep of the pools. That meeting agenda is here.
Then on April 23, AUSD's board will hear the a report on the committee's work, discuss the findings of the needs assessment, and give district staff direction on next steps for the future management of the swim centers.