Los Altos currently has a community pool at Covington School, but when the school district decided to remodel and reopen Covington School as an elementary school, it was decided to remove the aging pool. Community options were explored for a new pool over the past several years, and a group of people with aquatic sports interests was formed. The organization is called Swimmers Promoting Los Altos Aquatics Safety and Health or SPLASH. Significant attention was focused on McKenzie Park as a possible site. Neighbors of McKenzie Park expressed concerns over locating a high use community facility in their area. Simultaneously, the School District planned to relocate their maintenance yard closer to the neighbors of the Covington School site and the neighbors expressed concern over this siting as well.
The solution to this problem is that the City and the School District have exchanged land leases. The city land at McKenzie Park has been leased to the School District for a maintenance facility. Conversely the school district land located behind Covington School, adjacent to the city property at 401 Rosita, has been leased to the City for development of a community pool. The leased area totals 26,500 square feet. Six thousand additional square feet from the 401 Rosita site may be added to the pool complex. With City oversight, SPLASH is developing plans. The complex will consist of two main pools plus an additional wading pool and locker rooms. The new facility should be a wonderful community resource and provide for increased aquatics programs, including open recreational swimming hours for the children of Los Altos and special seniors swimming activities.
Now here's the good part for Los Altos taxpayers (and the City budget!): SPLASH has committed to raising the funding for the pool complex and will be soliciting contributions from the Los Altos aquatics community and others. Funds will be placed into Los Altos Community Foundation and targeted for the pool project
The current timeline is for the design phase of the project to go to bid in early November, with the design finalized by May of 2001. There will be community meetings for design review. The pool architects will work with the Covington School architects to ensure that all safety requirements are met with respect to the adjacent location of the elementary school. If all goes well, the new pool complex should open early in 2002.
The project is not without some challenges and community impact. A bigger pool facility should translate into more use and some increase in traffic into the 401 Rosita site area. Year-round operation is planned for the pool complex; in winter it may be lighted from 6:00 a.m. in the morning (Masters Swimmers are a hardy bunch) until as late as 9:00 p.m. at night. SPLASH is working to minimize the impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Additionally, eight giant redwood trees are currently slated for removal at the Mackenzie Park to make way for the new school maintenance building.