District projects TPHS pool to be constructed winter 2023

The construction of a 39-meter swimming pool is projected to begin next winter at TPHS; however, questions remain about the feasibility of this long-awaited project. 

When this projection was announced in February, proponents of campus pools, including members of the 12 high school swim, dive and water polo teams across SDUHSD, commended the district. 

“It would dramatically change the entire landscape of all the aquatic sports to be able to have practices, games and excitement [on campus],” TPHS Dive Coach K.C. Tudor said.

Despite this enthusiasm, hurdles still remain.

First is the approval of a maximum construction price for the pool, which is expected to be presented to the SDUHSD Board of Trustees next fall, according to John Addleman, the interim associate superintendent of business services.  

“Until I see that vote, I’m not going to celebrate,” Suzanne von Thaden, the lead of the parent-led pool advocacy SDUHSD Aquatics Committee, said.

The construction cost, now estimated at $14.03 million, is expected to be covered by Fund 40, a reserve fund for capital outlay projects, according to Addleman. 

The source of operational dollars, currently estimated at $243 thousand annually, is less clear. It is anticipated that fundraising, lane rentals and community partnerships would offset this cost; however, finalized agreements cannot be made until a maximum price is approved, Thaden said. 

Since 2008, families have pushed for the district to build pools on campuses, arguing that renting facilities disadvantages aquatic athletes with limited practice times. While SDUHSD has never had a pool on a district campus, 90% of California high school districts have aquatic facilities, according to the SDUHSD website. 

In April 2022, the board unanimously approved a motion of intention to build two pools—one in the north and one in the south of the district.

TPHS was ultimately chosen as the southern site; the northern pool site has yet to be finalized.

In the absence of a pool on a district campus, SDUHSD aquatic teams must schedule their practices at alternate facilities, accommodating the practices of the pools’ home teams.

This year, both the TPHS Boys and TPHS Girls Water Polo teams practiced from 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Mt. Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District. 

“We never get the first choice of when we can practice,” Boys Varsity Water Polo player Drew Smith (12) said. “A lot of teams that have their own pools can practice right after school, which is really nice because you’re not getting home as late and you have more time to do homework, sleep and eat.”

Similarly, swim practices at the Boys and Girls Club in Solana Beach can run as late as 9:30 p.m. The four divers on the TPHS dive team “rush” to Cathedral Catholic High School after their 3:25 p.m. release to join the Cathedral dive team’s 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. practice, according to varsity diver Mary Taich (11).

“I think all of us have at least one class after lunch, so we are late to half of the practices,” Taich said.

Some aquatic athletes said the absence of a campus pool has reduced interest in, and even awareness of, the TPHS aquatics program. 

“For sports like football and soccer, students can watch a game after school, and it inspires them to join,” James Halpern (9), a member of the boys Junior Varsity Water Polo Team, said. “Most people don’t even know we have a water polo team. There’s no student section ever at the games.”

Members of the other three TPHS aquatic teams echoed Halpern.

“It makes it hard to get school spirit for the sport because no one wants to drive to Rancho Bernardo to support their team,” varsity swimmer Lauren Linares (11) said.

Even without a pool on campus, the TPHS aquatics program has been successful, winning multiple CIF championship titles, TPHS Head Swim Coach Richard Contreras said. 

“We’ve always made do without having our own pool,” he said. “There’s been rental costs involved and inconvenient practice times … but the cost of operating a pool annually is not cheap. It has to be managed wisely, and it has to be utilized toward maximum potential.”

Considering the expense, community members have questioned the advisability of a pool, given the district’s deficit spending and deferred maintenance in recent years. While the deferred maintenance budget was increased in June 2022 and a budget workshop this month predicted the district will move out of deficit spending within three years, some view a pool as detrimental to these efforts.

“I  don’t know if we can afford [pools],” SDUHSD Board Member Katrina Young said. “I would like … to build a pool, [but] I want to make sure that we don’t do it at the sacrifice of any other projects [or] our financial stability.”

The operational budget is another area of concern. While nothing is finalized, estimated operation costs of $243 thousand annually could be offset by $105 to $135 thousand through renting lanes to self-sufficient organizations — aquatic groups with lifeguard-certified coaches — the district projected in April 2022. Considering the $92.5 thousand the district pays to rent pools for the two southern high schools, the net pool-related increase to the budget is estimated to be only $16 to $46 thousand annually. 

If the maximum price is approved next fall and construction begins soon after, TPHS would likely have an operational pool by fall 2024, Addleman said.

Read on Issuu.

5 thoughts on “District projects TPHS pool to be constructed winter 2023

  1. Wow, marvelous weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been running a
    blog for? you made running a blog glance easy.
    The full glance of your website is excellent, as smartly as the content!
    You can see similar here sklep

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post CIF adds girls’ flag football as new sport
Next post District begins supt. search with community input