Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 6, 2019

Pool cue

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

Tomorrow night there’s an extensive staff report on the Emma Hood pool situation because there needs to be some action taken by the City Council to move the issue forward.  Previously the information on the pool situation has taken the form of oral reports kind of at the end of the City Council meetings.   Because the City and the School District need to move quickly to mollify the county Health  Department this whole business has proceeded faster than I’ve seen a lot of issues move in this city.

A bit of where we are:

In the past, ACDEH has been willing to allow “grandfathered” code violations while AUSD and the City attempted to find long-term solutions and funding.  ACDEH is now requiring closure of both pools at the Emma Hood Swim Center in May 2019 unless the issues are addressed and brought up to code.  The primary code violations cited recently by ACDEH include both pools having co-mingled water with a single pipe system and one pump room and a subsequent lack of ability to verify a required 6-hour turnover rate; re-plastering the dive pool; and addressing safety and ADA issues on the pool deck.  ACDEH is also requiring that by May 30, 2019, the City and AUSD have a long-term replacement plan in place to build a new aquatic facility with major milestones identified.

City and AUSD staff have secured proposals to re-plaster the dive pool and repair the pool deck with additional work to fix an air leak that will address the water turnover rate and smaller work to replace drain covers.  Staff met with ACDEH staff on April 24 to confirm that the proposed work addresses ACDEH concerns.  Once the scope of work is confirmed and funding authorized then repairs can commence after the high school swim season is completed at the end of May.  Emma Hood Swim Center will be closed at the end of May and is projected to re-open once repairs are completed and approved by ACDEH. These repairs are anticipated to be complete within eight weeks.

The next step while fixing the pool is to have a plan to replace the pool.  This is not an optional step.   There is no more can kicking available for the Emma Hood situation.

The committee identified a lot of possible sites and even did a pull list of pros and cons for each site.  You can see that list in Exhibit 1.  The two finalists ended up being (1) leave it in the current location or (2) Thompson field.

From the staff report:

The existing site at Alameda High School is a tighter fit for all of the required components, but does have many positives such as existing utilities, access to the nearby parking garage, good regional transportation, limited residential impact, easily accessible by Alameda High School students and potentially a faster timeline for completion due to existing infrastructure.  The site at Thompson Field is significantly larger and could accommodate all facility requirements, but conversely would require relocating the football field and potentially several other facilities in a cascading effect before aquatic facility construction can commence.  This relocation has not yet been discussed or considered and would add to the aquatic facility timeline.  It is close enough for Alameda High School students, but would require a large financial investment for new utilities and off-street parking.  It is a bigger impact on the adjacent residents since the new aquatics facility would have a much larger increase in usage and night-time lighting than the existing football field.

Neither of these locations have been approved and it all still needs to go through the community process and the community is going to have A LOT to say about where this new swim center should go.


  1. Can you remind us of the ownership situation? Is Emma Hood city owned but on school district property? Is it jointly owned, etc?

    Comment by dave — May 6, 2019 @ 6:16 am

    • The City and School District have a joint use agreement but it technically belongs to the School District. The usage of the School District — if my memory is correct and it may not be — is slightly proportionally less than how much the City uses it. City uses include all the swim and polo teams that are not part of the schools.

      Comment by Lauren Do — May 6, 2019 @ 6:34 am

      • Is there any funded debt explicitly attached to the pool?

        Comment by dave — May 6, 2019 @ 6:36 am

        • To Emma Hood? I don’t believe so. Encinal received some money from the capital parcel tax to make those repairs, but Emma Hood’s problems have been known for years and kicked down the road. I think the staff report would have mentioned if there was outstanding debt from this facility and account for what would need to be done moving forward.

          Comment by Lauren Do — May 6, 2019 @ 6:40 am

      • In terms of number of users, AUSD students in AUSD programs are represented as well below 50%. Maybe in terms of pool time it is a greater percentage.

        AUSD and the City of Alameda (City) have a Joint Use Agreement under which AUSD currently operates and maintains the swim centers at both Alameda and Encinal High Schools. The City manages the schedule for both swim facilities. The cost of operation, maintenance and improvements is equally shared between AUSD and the City.

        Comment by MP — May 6, 2019 @ 7:45 am

        • I think AUSD manages outside use of other AUSD athletic facilities

          Comment by MP — May 6, 2019 @ 7:48 am

  2. I attempted to provide background materials from school board meetings below: If my memory serves me correct, a City tax measure that failed had pool component.

    Click to access BOE041211Pools.pdf

    Click to access BOE101414EncinalPool.pdf

    Click to access BOE042313Pools.pdf

    Click to access BOE031114LandSwap.pdf

    Comment by Mike McMahon — May 6, 2019 @ 7:27 am

  3. MP and Lauren, According to a staff presentation given at the Feb. 26 Board of Education meeting, ARPD and the community use the Emma Hood pool 57% of the time it is available, and AUSD uses it 8%. The full presentation (and video of that agenda item) is available at:

    Staff is currently scheduled to give another presentation on Emma Hood at the May 14 Board of Education meeting.

    Comment by Susan Davis (AUSD community affairs) — May 6, 2019 @ 10:11 am

  4. Sorry I’m not in town for this, but a really important item is that Alameda needs to have at least one Olympic regulation pool. Modern school teams are expected to meet Amateur Athletic Asso. times and distances in circumstances that can be duplicated. Swimming, diving, water polo, none of these can meet these standards now. We have to borrow off island school pools to meet the standards. I don’t know why Encinal re-do did not consider these needs. The low diving board is so close to the side that if there is a problem, the diver can hit the concrete. The water polo teams can stand up in the water. We no longer have a high dive at all. Hopefully you all will add this to your meetings with officials.

    Comment by Li — May 6, 2019 @ 11:30 am

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