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Funding for Warm Water Pool

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					                                                                   Consent Calendar
Date:                                                               3- 21 -06



To:          Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers

From:        Councilmember Dona Spring

Subject:     Letter to BUSD Re: Funding for Warm Water Pool


RECOMMENDATION:
That the council request the City Manager to write a letter to the BUSD School
Board requesting the inclusion of $2 million in their November 2006 parcel tax
ballot measure for the construction of the South Berkeley High School Warm
Water Pool at the District's preferred site on the BHS tennis courts; and request
that this request letter also be forwarded to the BUSD parcel tax committee.

BACKGROUND:
The BUSD is in the process of determining which projects to include in a parcel
tax to go to the Berkeley voters in November of 2006. In 2000 the Berkeley voters
approved a Measure R to allocate $3.5 million for renovating the warm water pool
on the Berkeley High School South campus. The school board this spring voted
that it wanted the warm water pool in a new location at the high school tennis
courts. A consultant was hired and determined that to move the pool to a new
location would cost more like in the range of 6 to $8 million. The city Council
allocated an additional $1 million from its general fund and requested that the
school district contribute an additional million dollars. The school district said it
did not have the money to do that. The irony is that the BUSD intends to use voter
approved parcel tax money to destroy the warm one or pool and it's building
without contributing to its replacement. This could be a violation of the Americans
Disability Act. Now is the time for the school district to be asked to include $2
million for the gap in funding the warm water pool in their projected $22 million
parcel tax. A letter to the BUSD board should also request this letter and
background information be forwarded to the committee working on the parcel tax
ballot measure for this November. Please see the attached letters which would be
included with a new letter as background informationclick
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: NONE


CONTACT PERSON:   Councilmember Dona Spring 981-7140
May 11, 2005

Berkeley School Board
2120 MLK Jr. Way.
Berkeley, CA 94704


SUBJECT: BERKELEY HIGH SCHOOL WARM WATER POOL


Berkeley School Board Members:

Four years ago Berkeley’s City Council became aware of the deteriorated
condition of the Pool Building on the Berkeley High School (BHS) South Campus.
Council initiated a bond measure to rehabilitate the building at a time when it was
still financially feasible. The City earnestly underwent steps to pursue this
rehabilitation with the School District. It was determined that a joint venture using
a joint architect would be beneficial. However, before design work could proceed,
the School District unilaterally decided to shelve the whole plan while a Master
Plan for the entire site was studied.

During the years waiting for the planning process, the pool building has continued
to seriously deteriorate. Confronted with the School decision to move the pool to
another site, the City underwent a study to determine the options and costs—to
rebuild the pool in place or rebuild it across the street.

The City believes that it is important that both organizations work together to solve
this problem. In April 2005, the City of Berkeley commissioned an architecture
firm with expertise in swimming pools to produce a Warm Water Pool study to
determine the feasibility of renovating the existing BHS South Campus natatorium,
demolishing and replacing the BHS South Campus natatorium, and constructing a
new natatorium on the BHS tennis courts.

The Warm Water Pool study determined that a preliminary project budget of
$3,500,000 to $3,800,000 is required to renovate the existing BHS South Campus
natatorium. This option is a temporary solution only. Based on the preliminary
seismic and structural evaluation, the building does not appear suitable for
renovation as a long-term solution.
The Warm Water Pool study determined that a preliminary project budget of
$6,300,000 to $7,400,000 is required to demolish and replace the BHS South
Campus natatorium. This project includes selective demolition of the existing
natatorium, replacement with a new natatorium containing a single new warm
water pool, all new support facilities including spaces for mechanical equipment,
chemical storage, building mechanical equipment as well as dressing, shower and
toilet facilities, and new exterior site improvements for accessible parking and
building access.

The Warm Water Pool study determined that a preliminary project budget of
$6,400,000 to $7,500,000 is required to construct a new natatorium on the BHS
Tennis court site, which is the recommended location for the warm water pool, by
the School District consultants.

The City strongly recommends that the School Board refrain from taking action on
the permanent disposition of the Warm Water Pool until all studies are complete
and proper funding is identified. Moving the warm water pool to the tennis courts
would be acceptable if the City and School District can identify additional funding
to make the project happen at this time. The City currently has $3,200,000 to put
toward the construction of a new warm water pool. There is a proposal (subject to
Council approval) to contribute $1 million of general fund money to assist in
making up the identified budget gap of $3-$4000000. The City is exploring other
ways to make a new warm water pool financially feasible since a permanent option
will cost between $6,300,000 and $7,500,000. The City recommends that the
School Board also explore options to help fund this project, including contributing
$1 million from the bond measure for redoing the South Berkeley High campus old
gymnasium and pool building. In addition, the City and School District could
jointly participate in an analysis of a certificate of participation option for the
remaining funding gap.

The Berkeley City Council continues to strongly support the efforts of the
Berkeley Unified School District to provide the Berkeley community a warm water
pool for BUSD student’s physical education and recreation, senior and disabled
swim and physical therapy, parent and child swim classes, and private swim
lessons. For many disabled and elderly, the warm water pool is the only physical
exercise they can do and it is vital for their health and well-being. The upgrading
or replacement of the BHS warm water pool is a very important priority to the
Berkeley City Council. The need to find a permanent solution to the future of the
warm water pool has become even more urgent because of the continuing
detonating conditions of the current warm water pool facility. The City would like
to continue to jointly cooperate with the BUSD to make this vital project happen
without a gap in warm pool availability for its users.

If you have any questions regarding this request, please contact Henry DeGraca,
Manager of Capital Projects at 981-6331 or myself at 981-7000.


Sincerely,

____________________
Phil Kamlarz, City Manager
Dear editor,

The Berkeley School Board took up the proposed plan for the Berkeley High
School South Campus athletic complex at its May 11 meeting. The preferred plan
proposes moving the warm water pool from its current location next to the Old
Gymnasium building across the street to the former tennis courts. School Board
Director, John Selawsky announced he wanted the community to know where he
was coming from on the proposed warm water pool. His comments referenced the
city consultant' s report that indicated the cost of the pool would increase from $3.2
million for a reconstruction at the current site to $6 to $7 million to build a new
pool of similar size across the street. Board member Selawsky said from his
perspective, the school district could not contribute any funding to make up the
budget gap. Board member Terry Doran also stated the School District did not
have the funds to help with the warm pool.

Previously, the City Manager had sent a letter informing the School District: "Four
years ago the City Council became aware of the deteriorated condition of the Pool
Building on the Berkeley High School (BHS) South Campus. Council initiated a
bond measure to rehabilitate the building at a time when it was still financially
feasible. The City earnestly underwent steps to pursue this rehabilitation with the
School District. It was determined that a joint venture using a joint architect would
be beneficial. However, before design work could proceed, the School District
unilaterally decided to shelve the whole plan while a Master Plan for the entire site
was studied.

"During the years waiting for the planning process, the pool building has continued
to seriously deteriorate. Confronted with the School decision to move the pool to
another site, the City underwent a study to determine the options and costs—to
rebuild the pool in place or rebuild it across the street."

The letter went on to say that subject to council approval, the city would be willing
to contribute an additional $1 million to fund the budget gap.

The Berkeley Unified School District is hereby formally noticed that under the
American Disabilities Act that they must provide a reasonable accommodations for
physical education and athletic opportunities to students with disabilities. They
need to ask themselves if the following accommodations will be found to be
reasonable:
1. To withhold maintenance funds for over a decade from the Warm Water Pool
facility so that it deteriorates beyond repair;
2. To spend tens of millions of dollars reconstructing pools and athletic facilities
for able-bodied students, but not committing any of the bond fund money to
provide reasonable physical education/recreation and athletic facilities to disabled
students;

3. To spend millions of dollars of bond money intended for reconstruction of the
old gymnasium and pool buildings to demolish the only BUSD accommodation
provided to the great majority of disabled students and children thereby depriving
them of any accommodation for physical education/recreation and athletic
opportunities.

What is very clear under the American Disabilities Act is that the School District is
obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to its disabled students and it
would not be reasonable to spend public funds to destroy the facility that provides
this current accommodation and not replace it. It is precisely at the time when
large construction projects are happening that requirements under the ADA kick in.
For centuries, the accepted argument (by the larger society) was that it was too
expensive to accommodate the disabled. Fortunately we now have laws to prevent
major infrastructure work being done with no accommodations to the disabled. The
School District is fortunate that the City of Berkeley (thanks to the voters) has
come up with over half the funds to replace the facility, otherwise the School
District would be on the hook for the full amount.

The disabled community like other minority communities has had to fight for its
rights even in Berkeley. In the mid-eighties, parents of disabled children had to
find an attorney from a legal advocacy group to sue BUSD for refusing to make the
old library accessible. The case was settled in favor of the disabled students and
this was before passage of the American Disabilities Act. In the late nineties, the
City of Berkeley lost an expensive ADA lawsuit for not making its old jail
accessible when it put in over $100,000 worth of remodeling. The city
unsuccessfully argued that it intended to do a new project soon and this was just an
interim remodel. Hopefully, disabled rights organizations will not have to divert
resources into getting the BUSD to do the right thing. Disability rights advocacy is
stretched to the limit right now fighting the draconian moves of the Bush and
Schwarzenegger administrations.

The city and the disability community need some firm financial commitments from
the School District soon before the value of the money is further diminished
through inflation and increased construction costs. We can't afford to wait on
another half decade. The current pool has been allowed to become unsafe and this
letter informs School District of its responsibility to act now with financial
commitments.

				
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