LOSD Community Engagement pool meeting ends ambiguously

The Lake Oswego School District held a Community Engagement Meeting to present and discuss upcoming plans for the district’s pool on Wednesday, Nov 6. The District’s architecture consultants present met unanticipated ambition from eager pool proponents. The meeting began with an intention to winnow pool site options from four to two, but ultimately, community members and consultants did not decide. (Site proposals include the Lake Oswego Golf Course, the Rassekh property, Lakeridge Middle School and an alternative property at Lake Oswego High School.)

The District passed a $170 million facilities bond in 2017, and of those funds had allocated $7 million rebuild the pool. But as investigation of the pool’s current structure progressed, analysts found that the facility boasted the “second-to-worst” structure (behind the Lakeridge Junior High School, which is currently under construction). Last year, the District began to review potential reconstruction layouts and determined that most options would demand more than $7 million; some, consultants informed the School Board, could cost well over $10 million.

During this process of consultation and deliberation, the School Board indicated interest in working with the City Council to combine funding efforts. Since then, the City Council has continued to indicate its own interest, conditionally. During the Engagement Meeting, architecture consultants presented the City Council’s concept of a larger community facility, one that could potentially house a warm water pool, sauna, yoga room, conference rooms and gym, among others.

But this presentation seemed to strike a chord with attendees, the vast majority of whom are long-time pool proponents who had waited for this town-hall-style meeting to discuss pool plans. Several expressed concern regarding the decision between a 25-yard-stretch pool and a 50-meter pool. In response, the consultants explained that they had not yet considered the costs of those dimensions. After roughly two hours of discussion, the room could not decide on potential project sites because the feasibility of pool sizes was still ambiguous.

As evidenced by the ambience of the Engagement Meeting, the urgency of pool renovation has only intensified. The pool maintains a variety of users, including three high school swimming teams, two high school water polo teams, two club swimming teams, a club water polo team, an adult masters’ swim team, swimming lesson students and instructors, community lap swimmers and occasional lifeguard trainees. Aside from late-night openings on weekends, nearly every available time slot for pool use is filled.

The physical structure, roughly 47 years old, remains in disrepair. Several chipped tiles leave sharp, hazardous edges along the edge of the pool, while most of the walls have chipped and cracked. In 2016, one of the ceiling’s beams cracked, closing the facility for multiple weeks.

Because District consultants have decided to allocate additional time to investigate costs for alternative, larger pool sizes, the Nov. 20 Engagement Meeting has been postponed indefinitely.