Swimmers left high and dry 

The antique boiler used to heat the Jefferson High School swimming pool — once used to power early20th-century ships — has finally given up the ghost after a tenure lasting since the Great Depression.

Three boilers, all more than 80 years old, heated the entire school until the turn of this century, but recent school improvements removed all but the one needed to heat the school’s pool. The failure of that last boiler has left school officials scrambling to replace it.

The pool is used not only by school classes and the Jefferson High School swim team, but also by the Daly City Dolphins Aquatics Club and a new after-school aquatics program.

"This is of an immediate need and if the kids don’t have it, that’s a crisis for us," Jefferson Union High School District Superintendent Michael Crilly said.

Officials have asked the school board to request at its meeting tonight an emergency waiver of the bidding process and receive quotes on installing a new heating system for the pool. Estimates for the work range between $40,000 and $50,000, money which would likely come from deferred maintenance funds, not school bond money, Crilly said.

In a memo to the district, John Schultz, the director of maintenance operations for the district, reported problems such as steam leaks, which exploded an inspection cap causing asbestos contamination in the boiler room, and malfunctions that left the pool too hot to swim in.

"The erratic behavior of the boiler makes it unreliable," he wrote.

If the Jefferson pool can’t regulate its heat, a lot of fish could be out of water.

The new after-school program, a joint effort between the Daly City Dolphins Aquatics Club and Club Jeff, an after-school enrichment program, is intended to offer a range of aquatics programs in the Jefferson High community.

The program, currently in its first year, teaches kids a range of aquatic skills from learning to swim to proper technique in the butterfly, said Fred Wales, the Dolphins’ longtime coach. Wales has built a swimming program in the Westmoor High community that has seen star-studded pupils go on to the higher levels of competitive swimming.

"We’re trying to do for the Jefferson community what we’ve done for the Westmoor community," Wales said.

The Jefferson pool is not the only one in the district in need of work. During the summer, officials estimated that the Giammona-Westmoor pool, which generally sees more community use than Jefferson’s pool, would need $4 million to $5 million in improvements, including tearing the building down and rebuilding a new complex.


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