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FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER/CITY CLERK
DATE: MARCH 7, 2006
SUBJECT: PALOS VERDES HIGH SCHOOL POOL PROJECT
Consider making a pledge to contribute funding to a new swimming pool at Palos Verdes High School.
On November 6, 2005, voters within the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District passed Measures R and S, approving a total of $40 million in bonds to repair and modernize school facilities within the District. Measure S will provide $10 million in funding for “co-curricular facility improvements,” including $1 million to repair the existing swimming pool at Palos Verdes High School.
The existing pool at Palos Verdes High School is nearly forty years old and showing its age. As stated in the November 6th ballot measure, the funds raised through the Measure S would be used to “repair/replace plumbing systems to meeting health and safety codes and aged electrical systems of the 40 year old pool at Palos Verdes High School.” It has also been reported that the pool’s fiberglass lining is sloughing off into the water. Further, the existing pool is 14 yards x 25 yards in size. On the Sea King Capital Project website, it’s reported that the existing pool is insufficient for the current demand, which includes high school water polo and swim team programs, as well as club swimming programs. By way of example, Palos Verdes High School’s water polo team made the CIF playoffs this year, but had to hold their “home” CIF playoff games at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach because the pool at PVHS is not CIF regulation size.
Rather than simply remodel the existing pool, the Sea King Capital Project (sponsored by Palos Verdes High School and its Booster Club) is attempting to leverage the $1 million provided by the School District by raising additional $1.5 million in donations to replace the existing pool with a new and larger aquatic facility. The new pool would be 40-meters x 25 yards in size, with water depths ranging from 3½ feet to 12 feet. In addition to building a new swimming pool in the same location as the existing one, the proposed project would include a new pool deck, changing rooms, restrooms, bleachers, scoreboard, perimeter fencing and mechanical/storage rooms. The larger pool would allow Palos Verdes High School to accommodate CIF water polo, swimming and diving, United States Swimming short course swimming and United States Water Polo full-length competitions.
In mid 2003, the City conducted a Parks, Recreation and Open Space telephone survey that found that swimming for exercise in a pool was a popular activity in the community. When asked about swimming for exercise in a pool, survey respondents from the youngest age group (18 to 49) reported that they swam more frequently in a pool for exercise than those in the older age groups. Further, those with children under age 18 in their household were almost twice a likely (34 to 19 percent) to have reported that they ‘frequently” swam in a pool for exercise compared to those without children under the age of 18 in the household. Both the Open Space Planning and Recreation & Parks Task Force and City Council heard public testimony that supported the survey results at the public hearings conducted during the preparation of the Draft Open Space, Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan in 2004 and 2005. Further, City Council identified providing an outdoor public swimming pool at Upper Point Vicente Park as one of the major components it wanted to see included in the Civic Center Master Plan
The reality is that the City is probably several years away from being able to actually construct a new community pool at Upper Point Vicente. In the meantime, the Sea King Capital Project offers the City an opportunity to partner with the PVPUSD and help to improve the existing public swimming facilities that is not only available RPV residents who are students at the high school, but would benefit RPV residents who are members of the community swim clubs that use the pool during non-school hours, such as the Palos Verdes Aquatics Club and the Zenith Aquatics Club. In addition, the City of Palos Verdes Estates runs an “open swim” program in the pool during the summer months that is open all any member of the public residing within the boundaries of the PVPUSD (which includes most of RPV). This program is especially popular with parents with small children. Both of these non-school related uses of the pool are expected to continue after the new construction is completed.
The cost estimate to construct a new aquatic facility is $2.5 million. The Sea King Capital Project reports on its website that $.45 million in private donations has been raised to date, bringing to the total to $1.45 million including the $1 million in Measure S funding. Their goal is to raise the remaining $1.1 million by March 15, 2006. If the Sea King Capital Project is unsuccessful, the School District will proceed with remodeling the existing pool as described in the ballot measure in order to keep the project on schedule.
If Council is inclined to make a funding pledge to the new pool at Palos Verdes High School, staff suggests two possible unrestricted funding sources to consider – the General fund or the Environmental Excise Tax fund. The current unencumbered balance in Environmental Excise Tax fund is $192,820. However, the City would only transfer funds to the Sea King Capital Project if the project meets it’s funding goal and the construction of the new swimming pool moves forward as proposed.