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Group asks for competition pool, warm water pool to be larger, budget remains $30 million

PMG file photo

The much anticipated user group input sessions — testimony-driven meetings for various groups in the community who would be impacted by the creation of an aquatic and recreation center — continued Monday Feb. 3, this time with the pool user community front and center.

The first session addressed the concerns of the dryland community and neighborhood associations.

The sessions were hosted in partnership with Lake Oswego School District and the City of Lake Oswego. The aim is to use input from the community to inform the next step of the process. A joint committee — which consisted of City and district officials — oversaw the process.

LOSD and the City have discussed a partnership to build the pool and a recreation center on the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course site since late last year. The agreement has not yet been finalized. If decided upon, the project is projected to cost the district and the City $15 million each, with funds coming from the district's 2017 school bond and the City's 2019 parks bond.

The proposed design of the project includes a 12-lane stretch 25-yard competition pool and a smaller warm water pool for recreational use.

On Monday, various groups from the pool community came together to present their recommendations.

Bob Heymann, a swimmer and parent in Lake Oswego, kicked off the presentation on behalf of the pool community.

"As a group, I think we unanimously say that we support a combined recreation aquatic center at the municipal golf course," Heymann said. "We also believe that both the capacity and the operations analysis underpinned in the proposal are based on faulty assumptions and could create a very misleading view of the actual pool usage and financials."

He said there's a gap between what's being offered in the proposal and what's actually needed.

"The competition pool does not meet user requirements because the project team, quite frankly, did not engage the users to understand the program requirements," Heymann said.

Still, he said that after visiting hundreds of pools across the United States, pool users believe the capacity and program requirements can be met with the proposed $30 million budget.

Stacey Dennett, swim coach at Lakeridge High School, said there are over 100 athletes on the Lakeridge swim team and about 60 on the Lake Oswego High School swim team.

"Currently I can only have 75% of my team come to practice," she said.

Dennett said asking her team to practice in a stretch 25-yard pool would be like asking the track team to only use a quarter of the track. "We do have a capacity issue," she said.

Dennett added that there is also an issue with available hours.

"Currently we practice at about three quarters of the time we actually need to train," Dennett said.

Deborah Rumsey spoke on behalf of youth aquatics clubs. She represented close to 500 athletes that feed into the high school teams. She said the group wants to help come to a collaborative solution.

Carolyn Heymann is a U.S. swim and triathlon coach who volunteers her time with the Lakeridge swim team. She took issue with the lack of available space for swim classes and lap swimming in the warm water recreational pool.

"If programming is supposed to drive design and design is supposed to lead a targeted 70% operational recovery then why are there only two lanes shown in the architect's recreational pool rendering?" she said.

David Spurr, representing the adult lap swimming community, said the most important thing to people who want to lap swim is the size of the warm water pool.

He said the current programming does not allow enough time for adults who work during standard business hours to lap swim. Other programs have those much desired slots.

They recommended at least five lap lanes in the warm water recreational pool.

Kim Hay, owner of Swim for Fun, a business that teaches swim lessons, represented the swimming lesson community. She has been teaching in Lake Oswego since 1995.

She spoke about her desire for the option for children taking swim lessons to learn in deep water. The proposed warm water pool would not exceed 5 feet, leaving many kids who learn to swim still fearful of swimming in deep water. She also brought up her desire to have a pool that accommodates teaching to dive, for which a depth of 9 feet is required.

After testimony, the committee had the opportunity to ask questions to those who presented.

City Councilor Skip O'Neill, also a member of the committee, said that the struggle with a 50-meter pool would be the operating costs.

Members of the pool community urged the committee to think of the revenue that would come in if they built a pool that accommodated everyone's needs. They proposed that revenue from club teams and private lessons — which currently goes to various pools outside of the city due to capacity restraints — could be put towards the pool.

Several members of the pool user group told the committee that they'd be more than willing to assist in a cash flow analysis.

"I think that the majority of the group there is generally understanding that money is a real thing and that there's only so much that we can afford, so they've suggested some compromises," LOSD Executive Director of Project Management Tony Vandenberg said. "With input that we receive during these sessions we're evaluating what, if anything, that we can do to accomodate."

An open house will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12 to present the proposal to the public and weigh in on user group input.


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