Lake County Information,California – Information

The Westshore Pool on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, after the Lakeport Unified College Board voted to demolish it. Picture by Elizabeth Larson/Lake County Information.

LAKEPORT, Calif. — Fifty years and 1000’s of swimmers after it first opened, the Westshore Pool is ready to be demolished.

The Lakeport Unified College Board on Wednesday evening voted to award a $248,000 demolition contract to R.O. Building, which later within the assembly was awarded a $59,340 contract to R.O. Building for cobblestone work within the Terrace Center College quad space.

The R.O. Building bid was the bottom of two the district acquired on the pool mission. The second was for $250,000 from Dillsaver Building.

In its 5 many years, the Westshore Pool has entertained 1000’s of adults and youngsters, together with the Channel Cats and the Clear Lake Excessive and Kelseyville Excessive swim groups.

The aggressive swimming program that the pool hosted resulted in lots of native college students getting full trip swimming scholarships to high schools.

Nonetheless, Jennifer Hanson, a Lakeport Unified College Board member and former Channel Cats president, mentioned with out a pool that may supply aggressive swimming, the Channel Cats at the moment are at about 40 members, somewhat than 300 because it had been when Westshore Pool was nonetheless open.

The town of Lakeport funded a whole renovation of the pool in 2007 and took the lead in working the pool through the summer time season.

However a collection of occasions stretching again a number of years that included district management claiming it discovered that the pool wasn’t as much as state requirements, adopted by the invention of leaking pipes underneath the pool resulted in 2017 being its last summer time and its closure in 2018.

Now, after years of languishing empty and vandalized, the pool is predicted to be eliminated very shortly.

Lakeport Unified Superintendent Matthew Bullard knowledgeable the board that there shall be some asbestos removing as a part of the demolition course of.

Board members Carly Alvord and Phil Kirby, and Board President Jennifer Williams-Richardson voted to approve the contract following a quick dialogue that consisted largely of answering questions from Lake County Information in regards to the pool.

Absent for the assembly had been board members Dan Buffalo and Jennifer Hanson.

Hanson, a passionate advocate for the pool who was the Channel Cats’ president for 26 years, mentioned that had she been on the assembly she would have voted to approve the demolition contract.

She mentioned she’s been advocating for just a few years to lastly fill within the broken and deserted pool.

“The pool is a hazard,” she mentioned. “As a result of they let it deteriorate as a lot as they’ve, it’s time to demolish it.”

Hanson’s viewpoint is comprehensible after seeing the pool. Following the Wednesday evening assembly, this reporter visited the location. The buildings had been gutted, the pool was full of rubbish, bleachers, a broken soda machine and different kinds of particles.

The pool and its buildings are coated with graffiti that includes each conceivable profanity and vulgarity, excluding one spot through which somebody wrote “Be Form” in black spray paint.

“It’s an open wound,” Hanson mentioned.

It wasn’t all the time that method. At one level, it was a thriving and busy neighborhood facility.

“You keep in mind the nice instances,” Hanson mentioned.

“You keep in mind the nice instances.” The Westshore Pool in April 2007, simply earlier than it was reopened following its refurbishment by the town of Lakeport. Lake County file photograph.

The saga of the pool

In 1972, the county of Lake, metropolis of Lakeport and the Lakeport Unified College District entered into an settlement to assemble the Westshore Pool on college district property, with building accomplished in 1973. It was designed by well-known Lake County engineer Cliff Ruzicka.

Throughout its years of operation, the pool wasn’t only a place of summertime enjoyable and a website for swimming competitions, it additionally fulfilled the crucial perform — being a spot the place youngsters might safely be taught to swim. The significance of that use is one Hanson has emphasised each as a Channel Cats chief and a college board member.

In 2004, the pool was closed as a result of want for repairs. That very same 12 months, the town and faculty district entered right into a 20-year memorandum of understanding through which the the town of Lakeport would function the power through the summer time, with the district contributing funds.

In 2005, the Lake County Channel Cats approached the town to ask it to develop into the sponsor for a State Parks grant. In November of that 12 months, the town acquired the State Parks grant within the quantity of $168,000.

In Might 2007, the town of Lakeport accomplished renovation of the 4,300-square-foot pool at a price of about $380,000. Most of that cash got here from Measure I gross sales tax funds, together with the State Parks grant.

The next 12 months, the varsity district knowledgeable the town that, on account of funds cuts, it might now not present the monetary help it beforehand had promised.

Within the years that adopted, the town raised issues that the county and faculty district weren’t sharing the prices of operating the power. The county had offered one-time funding of $5,000 however didn’t supply different help.

The pool saga took one other twist in January 2014, when — following separate discussions by each the town and the district about discovering methods to fund wanted upgrades — district officers mentioned they weren’t going to open the pool.

That was on account of then-Superintendent Erin Smith-Hagberg reporting that, over the vacation break, she had found an 11-year-old letter from the Division of the State Architect — the company that gives design and building oversight for amenities together with Ok–12 faculties — elevating points with the pool’s situations and accessibility underneath the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Later in 2014, the varsity district accredited a contract with a marketing consultant for soils stability testing. Ruzicka provided his providers to assist improve the pool at no cost and even went into his archives to offer the district his unique plans for the pool, which he gave to Hanson who, in flip, handed them off to the district.

By June of that 12 months, the report on soil and slope testing discovered the pool was constructed on secure soil and allowed for the district board to approve an settlement with the town of Lakeport to function the pool for leisure swimming that summer time.

The 12 months 2014 was vital for one more purpose: Lakeport Unified launched its plans for the Measure T bond, which voters accredited that November.

The $17 million bond measure was supposed to fund the constructing of a lot of new amenities, chief amongst them a brand new pool.

Hanson mentioned the pool was prominently featured on fliers the district circulated in help of the bond measure, which handed with 65.9% of the vote. It wanted 55% voter approval to move.

Nonetheless, Hanson mentioned that the district needed to end a cafeteria and library promised in a earlier bond earlier than doing the pool.

In a 2016 interview, Smith-Hagberg informed Lake County Information that the district was planning to maneuver forward with full building of a brand new pool with the bond funds, as the prices of refurbishing the Westshore Pool was thought-about to be too costly.

Hanson mentioned she recalled Mike Adams, the district’s marketing consultant on bond initiatives, presenting a design of a brand new 10-lane pool to her at a bond oversight assembly. “It was this attractive pool.”

At a bond oversight committee, she mentioned they had been informed that the health/tennis courtroom/pool complicated would break floor on the finish of 2018.

The Westshore Pool on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, after the Lakeport Unified College Board voted to demolish it. Picture by Elizabeth Larson/Lake County Information.

It turned out that the pool’s final summer time of operation was 2017. In December of that 12 months, Hanson and her daughter found a leak within the pool, which she mentioned was down by about 3 toes in depth from the place it ought to have been.

It was decided that there was a leak beneath the pool. “No person ever knew for positive why it sprung a leak,” mentioned Hanson, including that it was believed to be a problem with a pipe.

Hanson recalled that Smith-Hagberg and Dave Norris — then the district’s director of upkeep, operations and transportation — mentioned they didn’t plan to pay the $10,000 {that a} pool restore marketing consultant informed them it will price to repair the leak as a result of they had been planning to construct a model new pool with the bond funds.

“That’s precisely what they mentioned,” Hanson mentioned, including that she believed they knew full nicely that they weren’t going to construct a pool.

Whereas district officers maintained there have been plans for a brand new pool facility, these plans by no means superior to the purpose of constructing the brand new facility. Smith-Hagberg left to take a job in Calistoga and her successors additionally didn’t seem to help the mission.

Group dissatisfaction bought to the purpose the place in 2018 the varsity district board was confronted by a room full of residents indignant that the pool they thought they’d get with the bond hadn’t materialized.

Hanson mentioned the state of affairs with the pool led to her operating for the varsity board, and that the dealing with of the bond was “the No. 1 concern” in that 2018 election.

She, Buffalo and Carly Alvord ran in 2018 as a slate with a platform that targeted on points just like the pool and the way the bond cash was spent, which resulted in longtime board members Dennis Darling and Tom Powers being voted off the board. Norris later took a job out of county and left the district. Alvord, Buffalo and Hanson had been reelected in 2022.

Board, superintendent reply to questions on pool

On the college board assembly on Aug. 9, Lake County Information requested a number of questions in regards to the pool and what comes after the demolition.

In response to a query about whether or not the district had researched renovating and upgrading the prevailing pool, Bullard mentioned he had inquired with some organizations and so they mentioned the fee was prohibitive.

Board member Phil Kirby mentioned the prices to repair the pool’s plumbing had been exorbitant. That’s along with the Division of the State Architect having so many calls for on faculties, which Kirby would make a pool renovation dearer than the district might afford.

Concerning what led to the injury to the pool, Kirby mentioned it merely wanted a whole lot of upkeep.

As for the place the cash to demolish the pool will come from, Bullard mentioned it’s slated to return from amenities cash related to a grant. He mentioned the demolition is acceptable for bond {dollars} however {that a} dialogue of really utilizing bond funds to cowl eradicating the pool would come later.

Requested if the demolition would set off a requirement that the town of Lakeport repay the grant funding it acquired from State Parks to revive the pool, Bullard mentioned he participated in a dialogue with the State Parks Board and didn’t get the impression that may be required, because the board by no means introduced up reimbursement.

Concerning what the district plans to do with the pool website going ahead, Bullard mentioned they are going to take away the prevailing pool construction and return it to usable area.

He mentioned they may take away the pool and grade the hillside down however the district desires to return the location to its unique situation. That may enable for a future board to make use of the area to place in a construction with a basis.

Later in that assembly, Bullard up to date the board about his discussions with Lakeport Metropolis Supervisor Kevin Ingram concerning a joint powers settlement, or JPA, involving the cities and the county for recreation amenities and a pool.

He mentioned polling up to now reveals {that a} recreation heart has solely a 56 or 57% approval score, which isn’t excessive sufficient to move as a poll measure for initiatives that aren’t college associated. So now the JPA members are grants.

Bullard mentioned he and Ingram spoke about funds for a mission. Whereas the board put aside $1.2 million for it, Bullard mentioned he doesn’t consider the remaining bond funds could possibly be an accredited use for a recreation heart that’s positioned off campus.

Nonetheless, Bullard — and within the separate interview, Hanson — mentioned the district’s proceeds from the sale of the previous Pure Excessive property, now the placement of the brand new Lakefront Park, could possibly be used for the mission.

The town paid the varsity district $660,000 for the 6.9-acre property.

Bullard mentioned he assured Ingram that Lakeport Unified remains to be focused on a pool answer. “We might completely be a companion in that.”

Proper now, Bullard mentioned they’re in a holding sample to see what the JPA may do. Then, they will readdress the bond funds which were put aside. Bullard added that they should end the initiatives on the bond record.

Hanson mentioned that she feels the district wants to succeed in out to the neighborhood and apologize for not constructing the pool, and personal it.

“I all the time believed they had been going to construct a pool,” she mentioned.

The Westshore Pool on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, after the Lakeport Unified College Board voted to demolish it. Picture by Elizabeth Larson/Lake County Information.

Remembering the nice instances

The choice by Lakeport Unified to maneuver ahead with the pool’s demolition got here inside per week of the publication of an article by Slate magazine on the closure of public swimming pools.

The article identified that the nation’s deteriorating public swimming pools have led to drowning changing into a public well being disaster.

It’s a priority Hanson herself has raised for years. “We’re not known as Lake County by some whim.”

She mentioned it comes right down to the haves and have-nots — until you’re wealthy and have a pool in our yard, you’re not going to be taught to swim and you can be at risk of drowning.

With the general public sad in regards to the district not constructing one other pool, Hanson is worried. “We’re screwed. We’re by no means gonna get to a pool.”

As for these pool plans Adams confirmed her, Hanson mentioned they weren’t seen once more till Dan Camacho, Norris’ successor as director of upkeep, operations and transportation, discovered them tucked away in a file drawer.

Hanson mentioned she informed Bullard that she desires to be there for the Westshore Pool’s demolition.

“There comes a time whenever you simply should do it, for the security of the kids,” she mentioned.

She mentioned Bullard didn’t give her an concept of when it’s purported to occur, however she believes it’s quickly.

For Hanson, it’s been gut-wrenching to see the well-loved pool deteriorate into its present situation.

“Perhaps ultimately it received’t be unhappy anymore,” she mentioned.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This e mail tackle is being shielded from spambots. You want JavaScript enabled to view it.. Observe her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County Information, @LakeCoNews.

The Westshore Pool on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, after the Lakeport Unified College Board voted to demolish it. Picture by Elizabeth Larson/Lake County Information.

The Westshore Pool on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, after the Lakeport Unified College Board voted to demolish it. Picture by Elizabeth Larson/Lake County Information.

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