Governing Board OKs a 40-Meter Pool at High School

Courtesy La Cañada Unified School District  A 40-meter swimming pool will be built on the south side of the south gym at La Cañada High School. Some attendees at a school board meeting cited their preference for a bigger pool.
Courtesy La Cañada Unified School District
A 40-meter swimming pool will be built on the south side of the south gym at La Cañada High School. Some attendees at a school board meeting cited their preference for a bigger pool.

A 40-meter-long pool has been unanimously approved for La Cañada High School, where it will be installed on the south side of the south gym.
The La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board made its decision despite calls from some who attended its meeting Tuesday to build a bigger pool.
“This community is a good swimming community and it deserves to have a 50-meter pool for the next 50 years,” said resident David Haxton. He gave the board a sheet containing nearly 30 emails from residents and others who did not state their hometown. His comments drew applause from other attendees.
“We’ve had this on our agenda for a number of months now,” board member Dan Jeffries said before the vote. “We do have some vocal support of the 50-meter pool. But that’s not enough.” Jeffries said a 50-meter pool would cost an extra $1 million and would reduce the size of junior varsity fields. He said the city of La Cañada Flintridge did not appear interested in helping with the cost.
Pasadena’s Gonzalez Goodale Architects, which studied the site, submitted a letter saying that the 40-meter pool’s estimated construction cost is $9 million. The pool will have lighting and a scoreboard as well as nearly 5,000 square feet of accessory buildings, including team locker rooms, toilets, storage and a pool equipment room. The construction cost also covers new basketball courts at the location of the existing — and outdated — pool as well as an expansion of the south parking lot and a shifting of the JV baseball field, backstop fencing and lights.
The project’s construction phase is expected to be 18 months, with on-site meetings to be held every two weeks.
Mark Evans, chief business and operations officer for the district, displayed the differences between a 33-meter pool and a 40-meter pool in a slide show. The 33-meter pool offered fewer swim lanes, a smaller pool area for training athletes, a lack of warmup lanes and a smaller shallow-water area for physical education programs.
Some challenges presented by the 40-meter pool are its higher price and operating cost as well as a larger “footprint” at the site.
“We are building [the pool] for 50 years, right?” said resident Carmen Slavov, who expressed disappointment that the board was considering the 40-meter pool. “Would we want to do the right thing for people now … to give them the best possible facility for this $ 1 million that’s spent over 50 years?”
But officials said a 50-meter pool not only would cost the extra $1 million or more, but there also would be additional cost for locker rooms.
The pool was one of several items at the school board meeting regarding upcoming construction.

PROJECTS RECEIVE FIRST READINGS

A construction study on the modernization of aging Palm Crest Elementary School was passed under a first reading. The board chose a plan for a two-story building along the site’s Jessen Drive border that allows modular construction, which provides reductions in building costs and timeline. The budget is approximately $27.5 million, and will rely on bond revenue.
Board member Ellen Multari said she supported the plan because it would save the district about $2 million, according to her calculations.
Also at Palm Crest, a new sewer line was approved on first reading. It would connect the school’s sewer system to the city’s system and disconnect the site’s sewer from septic tanks, officials said. The winning bid of $427,000 was submitted by ABNY General Engineering and was the lowest of six. The financing is from bond revenue.
For La Cañada Elementary School, the board OK’d a contract to redo the asphalt and the kindergarten playground, Evans said in an email after the meeting. The field will retain its current layout. The board asked that the infrastructure for drainage be designed to allow for a larger field in the future.
The board accepted a bid of $702,260 by Asphalt Fabric & Engineering Inc.; bond revenue will pay for the work.
In addition, the district became a member of the National Purchasing Partners to use the authorization of the League of Oregon Cities to purchase items such as a $128,000 lunch shelter for Paradise Canyon Elementary School. It’s part of a $620,000 project.
“We’re joining a cooperative, if you will,” Evans said. “This is one way we can save time by using piggybacks.”
The board also awarded a contract to Chalmers Construction Services Inc. to convert an existing bookroom at LCHS to a wellness center. The contract’s amount is $93,000.

BIG DIG UPDATE

Superintendent Wendy Sinnette gave some updates about the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment removal project, the subject of a parents group’s public meeting set for 7 p.m. April 30 at the LCHS auditorium.
The so-called Big Dig project, whose first phase began in late November, is expected to involve 425 diesel truck round trips a day. The route would take the trucks through the intersection at Berkshire Place and Oak Grove Drive and onto the 210 Freeway.
In November 2017, the county Board of Supervisors approved a scaled-down project to remove 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment. The project started after a nine-year process that included feedback from local residents, environmental groups, the cities of LCF and Pasadena and the community of Altadena.
Sinnette said the trucks are expected to roll on May 7 and the district will have Nimya and Moore Environmental Consulting come to the high school on April 29 and 30 for air monitoring.

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