Schools pour $5.4M into swimming pools 

A shift in swimming habits during the past half-century is a driving force behind the upgrades at four San Mateo Union High School District pools.

Project Manager Todd Lee said the four pools currently have an area for lap swimming and an area for diving, but the world of swimming has changed in the past 50 years.

“No one dives anymore,” he said. “It’s a different configuration. It will be one single pool instead of two.”

The new pools will meet competitive-sport standards in width and length for swimming as well as optimal depth for water polo.

They will also meet accessibility standards and seismic requirements.

The four pools — Aragon, Capuchino, Hillsdale and Mills — are estimated to cost a total of $5.4 million. Funds will come from the Measure M bond approved by voters in 2006 for $298 million.

San Mateo and Burlingame high schools have each had their pools remodeled in the past 10 years, according to district associate superintendent of business services Liz McManus.

Aragon and Mills high schools have both water polo and swim teams. Hillsdale has a water polo team, while Capuchino has neither.

But, McManus said, all schools use pools for physical education classes and community swim lessons. The schools do not make a profit off swim lessons, McManus said, since the fees to use the pools cover the cost to operate them.

In addition to making these pools more water polo friendly, McManus said, the pools will fix leaks and have more efficient filter standards.

"They’re 50 years old,” she said. “It’s time these pools are replaced.”

Aragon athletic director Steve Sells said the pool is absolutely necessary and he is pleased with the plans.

“What we have now leaks enough water for a small nation to grow all its agriculture,” he said. “It’s on life support and barely holding on.”

Sells said the design plans will make the pool more education focused as all students have a swimming curriculum in their physical education classes.

“We’re also hoping our community will get a stronger swimming program,” he said. “Get someone in here and build up the aquatics program.”

School board President Peter Hanley said the technology in pools as greatly improved in the past 50 years.

“Pools are less likely to have leaks,” he said. “We can accommodate more sports and less possible damage in [a] seismic event.”

Making waves

San Mateo Union High School District pool projects:

4 Pools
4 Months of construction
5,523 Students in these four high schools
$5.4 million Total cost
$298 million Total bond

Source: San Mateo Union High School District

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