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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