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Warm water pools design under way

By John Geluardi Daily Planet staff
Monday August 13, 2001

With the blessings of the City Council, the Berkeley Unified School District has begun the initial design phases for the rehabilitation of the two warm water pools at Berkeley High School. 

The two indoor, Olympic-size pools have been used for adult programs for seniors, the disabled and those recovering from injuries for the last 20 years. 

The 71-year-old pools have fallen into disrepair and in November, voters approved Measure R, which provided $3 million to completely modernize the pools at the same time the BUSD carries out a $19.5 million gym renovation, which was funded by the November approval of Measure AA. 

On July 24, the City Council approved an agreement that gives the school district the authority to oversee the initial design phases of the project. Since then, the district has signed a contract with the Walnut Creek architectural firm of Akol and Yoshii to draw up the initial project plans. 

“Getting Measure R passed and now having the project in the hands of the architect are two tremendous steps,” said Fred Lupke, who was co-chair of the Measure R campaign. 

Lupke said once initial renderings are complete, the final details will be worked out for both projects, then submitted to the California State Architect for approval. All projects that are carried out on school property must be reviewed and approved by the state, a process that adds between six and nine months to the project, according to a July 24 city manager report. 

Under the agreement the council approved on July 24, the school district will contract, according to their normal policies, with all consultants during the design phase of the project. The city will then reimburse the school district at about 12 percent of the total design costs.  

Once the designs are approved by the state architect, the search will begin for a contractor.  

“It’s very important we find the right contractor,” said Councilmember Dona Spring. “We have very little wiggle room with the money available to complete the project.” 

Spring said the city doesn’t want to find itself in a situation like the Central Library renovation, which has gone over budget and is now months over due. 

Some of the improvements that will be made to the pool include installing a new water filtration system, adding a modern ventilation system and constructing shower and dressing areas designed for community use. An important part of the design of the pool facilities will be accessibility for the disabled.  

If all goes according to plan, construction should run between May 2003 and November 2004.