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San Dieguito school district seeks Encinitas’ help with pool project

The downtown Encinitas sign.
(Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Council expresses willingness to collaborate but cautions ‘the devil is in the details’

The San Dieguito Union High School District is looking for a partner to help fund a pool that could be used both by the district’s students and by the community, a district official told the City Council Wednesday, Oct. 19.

“If there is interest, I would go back to my board in January 2023,” and start the process of reworking the pool plans and updating cost estimates, John Addleman, the district’s interim associate superintendent of business services, added.

All five City Council members said they definitely were interested in the idea of Encinitas partnering with the school district on a pool project, but cautioned that the process of going from idea to reality may need to cross over some rough waters.

“There’s no question that it’s worth exploring,” Councilmember Tony Kranz told Addleman, adding that he needed to remember the famous saying that “the devil is in the details.”

Both Councilmember Kellie Hinze and Mayor Catherine Blakespear said they thought residents would like to have a community pool. Hinze noted that the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA is the community’s primary source for swim classes and that because of the town’s growth, more pool access is needed. Councilmember Joy Lyndes said she looked forward to seeing what happened next.

“I believe there is interest in the community, but these are not easy things to do,” she said.

Among the issues to resolve are where the pool will be placed and how big it will be.

San Dieguito Union High School District, which covers a vast area from Carmel Valley to south Carlsbad, is considering two pool projects, Addleman said. The district’s board has supported putting one pool at Torrey Pines High School and a second pool “somewhere here in the north end of the district,” he said.

During his presentation, he showed a slide that used the San Dieguito Sports Complex on Calle Barcelona in south Carlsbad as the proposed second pool site. If that pool was a shared facility with both school and community use, the district would propose building a 50-meter pool, he said, adding that such a project is estimated to cost $16.3 million to build and roughly about $1 million a year to operate depending on how it is managed.

Carlsbad has a shared use pool, the Monroe Street pool, next to Carlsbad High School, as well as a city pool complex at Alga Norte Park. Encinitas does not have a city-owned pool.

While Addleman talked about putting a pool at the south Carlsbad site, Encinitas City Council members talked about how the original plans for Encinitas Community Park, which opened in 2015, included a pool. Kranz noted that a pool design was included in the environment impact report that the state approved for the park project and said the city should look into how big it was proposed to be.

Councilmember Joe Mosca, who previously served on the city’s parks and recreation commission, said it was interesting to hear the pool issue come up.

“It’s full circle that we’re now discussing this again,” he said, later adding, “I’m absolutely in favor of exploring this further.”

Addleman told the council that the district is setting aside $38 million for its pool projects. The Torrey Pines High School project, which is proposed to be a 37-meter pool, is anticipated to cost $14 million to construct and just under $250,000 a year to operate, he said.


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