Supporters of the warm water pool are getting ready to assert the importance of saving the pool, now located in Berkeley High School’s old gymnasium building, at the School Board meeting on Wednesday.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board will vote on approving a resolution to accept a Berkeley High School environmental impact report (EIR), which includes the site of the current warm water pool. It will also vote on the BHS South of Bancroft Project.
If the EIR is approved, construction can begin on the South of Bancroft Project.
Although voters approved funding to rehab the warm pool in 2000, the school district has since made tentative plans to demolish the pool and the building that houses it and build another structure on the site, with other more tentative plans to allow the city to construct a new warm pool and lockers on a site across Milvia Street from the current one.
The BHS South of Bancroft project includes tearing down the old gym and building a combination of classrooms and exercise rooms. The stadium on the football field will be rebuilt and the parking lot inside the grounds will be torn down, with the resulting space used only for athletic purposes thereafter.
According to BUSD spokesperson Mark Coplan, the part of the gymnasium which houses the warm water pool will not be affected until the last phase of construction. “That will give time to pool users to keep using the facility until the city comes up with a bond to help rebuild it,” Coplan said.
The Warm Pool Committee, which will be present at the meeting Wednesday, has received a copy of the final EIR which was commissioned by the Berkeley Unified School District. Committee members say they have been disappointed by the district’s attitude toward their concerns.
The board will also vote to approve the recommendation of the surplus committee for the BUSD-owned Hillside Committee. Hillside, one of the first schools built in Berkeley, was closed down because it was built on an earthquake fault. According to state law, schools can be built near earthquake faults, but not on them.
BUSD has been renting the property to a Montessori school for the last 15 years. The lease on the current property currently runs month to month. In order to create a longer contract, BUSD is required to go through a surplus process.
The board will also review and vote to accept an Independent Audit Report and Financial Statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, which will be presented by Vavrinek Trine Day & Co.
The board will also receive the 2005-06 Student Assignment Plan report on Wednesday.
In 2006, the BUSD Student Assignment Plan came under attack when the Pacific Legal Foundation charged BUSD with a lawsuit which charged the school district with “violating California’s Proposition 209 by using race as a factor to determine where students are assigned to public schools and to determine whether they gain access to special educational programs.”
The board will also approve a proposal by the South Berkeley Community Mural Project to place murals along the fence at Malcolm X Elementary School. The South Berkeley Senior Story Project will depict the history of the people of South Berkeley.