LOSD Pool Task Force weighs options for new pool
The Lake Oswego School District continues to make progress on a new pool to serve the district and community, thanks to the Pool Task Force made up of LOSD administrators, teachers, student swimmers and community members.
The task force has now met on four occasions and is one meeting away from presenting design options to Superintendent Michael Musick for his consideration, according to Lou Bailey, the district's executive director of secondary programs.
Bailey is the co-facilitator of the Pool Task Force along with Community School Director and Lakeridge Water Polo Coach Morgan Rauch. The task force was created by Musick in October, and was asked to look at the future pool's programming needs first — to serve not only the district but also the community — and then move toward developing a business model before finally tackling the design of the pool itself.
To help the task force navigate the world of indoor aquatics, the district hired Ken Ballard from the recreation and aquatics consulting firm Ballard-King. Ballard has been the primary leader of the task force meetings by helping members make tough decisions and prioritize their desires for the pool.
Bailey and Ballard presented the work that the task force has accomplished and possible options for the design of the pool to the school board Feb. 25.
The $187 million bond measure approved by voters in May 2017 included $7 million for updating or replacing the current dilapidated pool, which is in such bad shape that officials have since decided it can't be repaired.
The new pool will be located on the campus of Lakeridge Junior High, with construction likely to begin in the summer of 2021. What the pool will look like and what it will cost are still to be determined, officials say, but it will definitely be part of a master plan for the site that is now being prepared by Mahlum Architects — the same firm responsible for the design of LJH.
While cost is an important factor in the construction of the pool, it was not a part of the Feb. 25 presentation. That will come later, according to Bailey.
"The piece that this committee is not focused on is the construction and capital costs of the pool. We've stayed firm to our charter of identifying program needs, user needs and design features of this pool," he said. "The next phase, after we turn over these recommendations, is the architect and capital and construction costs."
Ballard explained how much the demand for the pool outpaces the current lane time available. "There is a demand for more pool time for virtually every user group," including high school swimming and water polo, Swim For Fun swim team and swim lessons, Lake Oswego Swim Club, Lake Oswego Water Polo, and lap swimmers, Ballard said. "In many instances there's not a lot of growth going on, not because the demand isn't there, there is just no more pool time available."
According to Ballard, the demand is so high that the high school swim teams reduced their practice time from two hours to one hour and fifteen minutes to support other programs.
"That's a pretty dramatic drop," he said.
When considering recommendations for the new pool, Ballard said water temperature, pool size and depth are key issues.
"A lot of the issues with the pool, as with any pool, is related to water temperature and its ability to serve the different needs," he said. "Community user groups want to have a water warmer temperature, and more competitive users want to have a cooler water temperature. That's an issue that has to be dealt with."
The depth of the pool is also an issue for different types of pool users: water polo requires two deep ends, but community members want shallow areas, said Ballard.
Based on discussions in past Pool Task Force meetings, Ballard presented four options to the board for their consideration. These options are not the task force's recommendations, but stepping stones on the way there. Option one, which focuses on the needs of school district programs, is a 25 meter x 25 yard pool. It would have 10 lanes and one water polo course, with a 6-7 foot depth throughout. This option would meet immediate school district needs, but not much else, said Ballard.
Option two would serve the school district and support programs. It would be a stretch 25 yard x 25 meter pool featuring a moveable barrier called a bulkhead to divide the pool. The pool would be 14-16 lanes, including one full-sized water polo course and two smaller ones, mostly 6-7 foot depth, with possible shallow areas.
"This option could support water polo and swimming at the same time, as well as more organization needs," said Ballard. "But there is still limited appeal to the community."
Option three is a 25 yard x 50 meter pool that would serve the full spectrum of uses from the school district, support and community groups. The pool would have 20-22 lanes, one or two bulkheads, some shallow water, two full-sized water polo courses, and more room for other uses. Ballard said this size would "easily double and go beyond doubling available lane hours that you have now," in the eight-lane pool.
Option four opens up the aquatic facility to wider community usage. It would be the same lap pool as option three, with the addition of a separate warm water program pool to be used for lessons and other community uses.
"This option deals with water depth issue, and water temperature issues," said Ballard. "But it would require a very strong partnership agreement."
Ballard will hold one more meeting with the Pool Task Force on April 1 from 4-6 p.m. in the professional development building on the Lake Oswego High School campus. The task force will then report their final recommendations to Musick.
For more information on the Pool Task Force, visit www.losdschools.org/Page/5823.