Mar Vista High School swimming pool nears completion – The San Diego Union-Tribune

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Imperial Beach student swimmers who have scrambled to find a replacement site to practice and compete are now closer to diving into their new world-class, competition pool.

Sweetwater Union High School District officials announced last week that the swimming pool at Mar Vista High School is expected to be complete by mid-November, with potential opportunities for community access.

The facility will include a 50-meter competition pool with 21 lanes, a new pool deck, diving boards, a timing system and a scoreboard. These features will allow for two water polo matches simultaneously, according to the district. The site will also have new family restrooms, outdoor showers, shaded structures and bleachers that can accommodate about 400 people.

The multi-million-dollar project to replace Mar Vista’s 1965 pool with a new one has been in the works for about four years. It had served as the only on-campus aquatics facility in the school district, and while it was serviceable, its wear and tear worsened over recent years.

District officials said in 2020 they were committed to keeping the pool open for as long as possible, even during repairs that were estimated to cost between $10,000 to $40,000, but the facility had eventually become unrepairable.

The pool closed that year for demolition and displaced swimmers from Mar Vista and Southwest schools. Finding a place to swim became even harder during a pandemic year. The district, which oversees 12 schools, looked for pool access at Southwestern College and city facilities such as Las Palmas Pool, Parkway Aquatics Center and Loma Verde Aquatics Center. Several of those sites, however, also closed at some point due to the pandemic and renovations.

It was a weird year having to adjust to the closure, Mar Vista swimming and water polo coach Chad Kavanaugh said in a previous interview.

With a new pool soon to open, several residents said they would like the facility to have programming for the community, including for seniors.

“We need this so badly. I am past senior citizen age. I would love to have a pool somewhere. I would get in at 4 a.m. if they’d let us. We just don’t have it here,” said Mary Quisenberry.

Councilmember Paloma Aguirre agreed the pool was necessary for athletic purposes but also as an alternative place to swim because “obviously, we have very real issues with our water quality.”

Imperial Beach has seen increased shutdowns of its sandy shores due to ongoing sewage contamination from Tijuana, making summers a disappointment for a city with a rich history of surfing and swimming.

The city and school district are working on a new agreement to allow community access to the pool and provide swimming lessons and other water fitness classes. A tentative schedule would include lap swim access in the mornings three times a week and some weekend access.

Mayor Pro Tem Jack Fisher said the community will have a chance to review the agreement whenever it comes before the City Council for their consideration.

“We have to be committed to ensure that the whole use of this pool is met,” he said.


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