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File #: 2019-6835   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/7/2019
Title: Recommendation to Receive a Report on the Status of the Emma Hood Swim Center Repairs and Provide Direction on Options for a City Aquatic Center; and Adoption of Resolution Amending the General Fund Transfers Out Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 by $250,000 and Capital Projects Fund Transfers In and Appropriations by $250,000, Each, for Costs Associated with Repair of the Emma Hood Swim Center. (Recreation and Parks 280)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Pros and Cons of Potential Locations, 2. Exhibit 1 - REVISED Pros and Cons of Potential Locations, 3. Presentation, 4. Resolution, 5. Resolution - REVISED



Recommendation to Receive a Report on the Status of the Emma Hood Swim Center Repairs and Provide Direction on Options for a City Aquatic Center; and


Adoption of Resolution Amending the General Fund Transfers Out Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 by $250,000 and Capital Projects Fund Transfers In and Appropriations by $250,000, Each, for Costs Associated with Repair of the Emma Hood Swim Center. (Recreation and Parks 280)




To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council


From: Eric Levitt, City Manager




The Emma Hood Swim Center, located at Alameda High School, is an aging facility that is in need of significant repair and replacement.  The pools are operated and maintained by the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) under a Joint Use Agreement with the City of Alameda (City).  The Alameda County Department of Environmental Health (ACDEH) is requiring closure of the Swim Center pools by May 30, 2019, unless significant deferred maintenance issues are brought up to code and a long-term replacement plan with specific milestones is identified.


A repair plan is in place with an amount not to exceed $350,000 total, 70% of which is to be paid by the City.  Concurrently, the Ad-Hoc Committee, comprised of two members each from the AUSD Board of Education and the City Council and their respective staff, as well as aquatic community members, is developing recommendations for the scope of a new City aquatic facility and potential locations.




AUSD and the City have a Joint Use Agreement under which AUSD operates and maintains the swim centers at both Alameda and Encinal High Schools.  The City manages the schedule for both swim facilities.  The cost of operation, maintenance and improvements is equally shared between AUSD and the City.


In the past, ACDEH has been willing to allow “grandfathered” code violations while AUSD and the City attempted to find long-term solutions and funding.  ACDEH is now requiring closure of both pools at the Emma Hood Swim Center in May 2019 unless the issues are addressed and brought up to code.  The primary code violations cited recently by ACDEH include both pools having co-mingled water with a single pipe system and one pump room and a subsequent lack of ability to verify a required 6-hour turnover rate; re-plastering the dive pool; and addressing safety and ADA issues on the pool deck.  ACDEH is also requiring that by May 30, 2019, the City and AUSD have a long-term replacement plan in place to build a new aquatic facility with major milestones identified.


City and AUSD staff have secured proposals to re-plaster the dive pool and repair the pool deck with additional work to fix an air leak that will address the water turnover rate and smaller work to replace drain covers.  Staff met with ACDEH staff on April 24 to confirm that the proposed work addresses ACDEH concerns.  Once the scope of work is confirmed and funding authorized then repairs can commence after the high school swim season is completed at the end of May.  Emma Hood Swim Center will be closed at the end of May and is projected to re-open once repairs are completed and approved by ACDEH. These repairs are anticipated to be complete within eight weeks. 


Meanwhile, the Pool Ad-Hoc Committee (Committee) meets weekly and consists of two City Council members, two AUSD Board of Education Members, aquatics community members, and staff from both agencies. The community members also formed a separate group (Alameda Aquatics Alliance) that meets weekly to ensure that constituents from all of the various swim, dive, water polo, and recreational uses are represented.  Three members of this group are liaisons and participate with the Committee to ensure community voices are heard and information is relayed back out to the aquatics community. Recommendations are based on continuing discussions from the Committee.




The Committee confirmed the primary components required for a new City owned and operated aquatic facility.  These were proposed by the Alameda Aquatics Alliance and have been determined to meet the needs of all potential aquatic facility users.  An indoor pool option was initially discussed, but was not considered feasible for its high construction and ongoing maintenance costs.  The committee felt these costs did not outweigh the potential benefits of an indoor facility and could make the reality of building a new aquatics facility significantly more challenging. 


The primary components required for a City aquatic facility include:


                     30 meter to 50 meter competition pool;

                     25 yard pool that can be used for practice, warm up, swim lessons and recreational swim with zero depth entry, which is especially helpful for seniors, disabled and young children;

                     Lighting for evening programming;

                     Recreational splash play structure with the specific components to be determined; 

                     Modernized locker rooms;

                     Sufficient seating areas with bleachers and open lawn for pop-up tents;

                     A multi-use room for training, classes, and birthday parties;

                     Concession area; and

                     Picnic area.


The Committee reviewed 10 potential locations with consideration for the space required for these components and discussed the pros and cons of each site (Exhibit 1).  Through this process, two sites were identified as having the highest potential, 1) the existing Emma Hood Swim Center, incorporating additional space from at least one adjacent tennis court, and 2) the site that is currently Thompson Field.  It is important to note that none of these locations have been vetted through a community input process and the intention of this process is to ensure that all other existing sports facilities are accommodated both in the long term and during any construction period. 


Each of these two sites has its own unique challenges.  The existing site at Alameda High School is a tighter fit for all of the required components, but does have many positives such as existing utilities, access to the nearby parking garage, good regional transportation, limited residential impact, easily accessible by Alameda High School students and potentially a faster timeline for completion due to existing infrastructure.  The site at Thompson Field is significantly larger and could accommodate all facility requirements, but conversely would require relocating the football field and potentially several other facilities in a cascading effect before aquatic facility construction can commence.  This relocation has not yet been discussed or considered and would add to the aquatic facility timeline.  It is close enough for Alameda High School students, but would require a large financial investment for new utilities and off-street parking.  It is a bigger impact on the adjacent residents since the new aquatics facility would have a much larger increase in usage and night-time lighting than the existing football field.


In addition, both sites are currently owned by AUSD and a land transfer agreement would need to be discussed and negotiated between the City and AUSD to build a City-owned and operated facility.


The next step is for the City Council and AUSD Board of Education to each authorize funding for repairs, which total no more than $350,000, and these costs will be shared at 70% City and 30% AUSD based on current hourly uses by school teams, community and City programs.  This is a high estimate of costs, based on recent conversations with ACDEH and includes any additional work scope they may add.  Once a scope of work plan is confirmed by ACDEH, then permits and work will be scheduled and completed.


In addition, the long-term plan for an aquatic facility replacement with specific milestones for funding and any land agreements must be agreed upon by both the City and AUSD to present to ACDEH.




The annual maintenance budget for the swim center is included in the Recreation and Parks Department Fund.  Additional costs of $250,000 for one-time repairs are being requested as a budget adjustment from the General Fund in the Fiscal Year 2018-19.





General Fund (001)



   Transfer Out



Capital Projects Fund (310)



   Transfers In



   Contractual Services






This action does not affect the Alameda Municipal Code.




This action is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301 (Repair, maintenance and/or minor alteration of an existing facility.)  Permits will be required from the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health and possibly from the Division of State Architecture as a school site.




Receive report on the status of the Emma Hood Swim Center repairs and provide direction on options for a City Aquatic Center; and


Adopt a Resolution amending the General Fund Transfers Out Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19 by $250,000 and Capital Projects Fund Transfers In and appropriations by $250,000, each, for costs associated with repair of the Emma Hood Swim Center.


Respectfully submitted,

Amy Wooldridge, Acting Assistant City Manager


Financial Impact section reviewed,

Elena Adair, Finance Director



1.                     Pros and Cons of Potential Locations