Gilroy HS pool project on the horizon

NEW POOLS Gilroy Swim Coach Doug Pickford gets ready for swim meet, using one of two pools, which will be replaced. Photo By Barry Holtzclaw

Gilroy High School’s two swimming pools will be merging into a single large competition pool, as early as next year.

The Gilroy Unified School District staff had outlined three renovation options for the aging high school swimming pool complex. The district’s Board of Trustees approved an option that combined two smaller pools into one $5 million larger competition pool.

Gilroy coach Doug Pickford is ecstatic about the larger pool. He said the school’s water polo team has never been able to play in a regulation water polo pool, which has been a handicap when the team plays away matches at larger pools.

At its March 22 meeting, the board heard three proposals, each with a different price tag and scope of work. In the end, they opted for the approximately $5 million option that includes a 25-yard-by-35 meter pool, a new tiled pool deck with underground utilities and drainage, upgraded filtration and mechanical room, timing system, ADA gate upgrades, restrooms and showers.

“Like all of our facilities, (the pools) get a lot of use, not only from the schools, but the community, and 40 years is a lot of wear and tear,” said Board President Linda Piceno, who explained that the board did not choose the priciest plan nor did it select the least expensive option.

Option 1 maintained the smaller two-pool layout, but Piceno said the health department required the district replace the mechanical support/filtration unit with two new ones for each individual pool.

“That increased the cost (for Option 1) and it just didn’t make sense,” said Piceno, who joined the board on a visit to the Gilroy High pool complex prior to determining the best option moving forward.

The board favored Option 2 over Option 3, which added another $1 million worth of work that included a shade structure and 50-foot sports lights.

“We felt at this point (Option 3) was a bit superfluous,” Piecno said.

The original project, which is being funded through Series A of the $170 million Measure E education bond passed by voters in June 2016, called for only the pool deck replacement with a cost of about $860,000.

However, district staff and board decided to look at bigger overhaul options for the Gilroy High pool while determining its Measure E priorities project list.

Piceno said the next step is to meet with the school teams and community organizations that will be impacted by the construction to determine the best start date for the project.

“There is no good time because that pool is used all year round. We want to find the time that will be least intrusive to those groups,” Piceno said. “(The district) will be working with the users as well as the (Gilroy HS) principal and looking at what’s the best option.”

The project, once started, is estimated to take six to nine months to complete, according to Piceno.

“It’s going to be great when it’s done, but it’s going to be hard during the construction time,” the board president added.

The new Gilroy High pool project is another in a series of upgrades to the 750 W. 10th Street campus that represents district leadership’s continuing efforts to upgrade the 1978 Gilroy campus, on par with Christopher High School, built in 2009.

An earlier facelift at Gilroy High occurred in 2012. A new two-story math building is also currently being constructed on the campus and will be ready for next school year.