By: Staff Writer Pratham Gupta
FUSD Board of Education, on September 30, unanimously approved to allocate additional funds to build a new pool at MSJ. The old pool was constructed when MSJ was first established, and as such didn’t meet many current standards and regulations. Even though the state curriculum requires students learn how to tread water it is not possible in the current pool as it is too shallow. The new pool will also have more lanes than the current one which is safer for the students as well.
The preliminary budget allocated to MSJ for pool repairs was $1,027,950 while the estimated cost for a new pool is $4,162,903. The Board approved the reallocation of the additional $3,134,953 from Sale of Site Fund (Fund 40) – Special Reserve Fund and the General Fund (Fund 1). MSJ Surf Board E Representative Brendan Wu said, “The fact that so many of these swimmers and polo players are here tonight speaks volume[s] of[sic.] the tremendous support and the need for the pool.” MSJ swimming and water polo teams were also present at the board meeting to show their support for the new pool. Girl Swim Coach Cory Audiat said, “When my fellow coach Joe Martinez passed away a couple of years ago, I quickly was able to convince FUSD to change the name of our pool to the “Joe Martinez Memorial Swimming Pool”, with the hope of one day getting a new pool worthy of being named after him. To finally have this happen is a dream, and is the best moment of my coaching career.”
The swim and water polo teams were involved in the process as well, they went to FUSD board meeting, spoke during the “open communication” sections of the meeting regarding the pool’s safety concerns and the difficulty and the extra costs of renting the Ohlone Pool. The new pool will directly impact them, the extra lanes in the new pool allow for more athletes to join the JV and Varsity division of swim and water polo. The new pool allows them to practice maneuvers which weren’t possible in the old pool, host home meets, MVALS, and the Joe Martinez Invitational. This pool will also be open to other high schools with permission, which MSJ Athletics Director Thomas Thomsen describes as “being a friendly neighbor.”
Thomsen added that he “appreciates all the work the school board, district officials and our parents have done to get this off the ground and make it happen.” The site of construction is still being debated, so it is not decided as to whether or not the current pool will still be used while the new pool is being constructed. The coaches of the swim and water polo teams have devised potential practice locations in the event the old pool is not accessible for the duration of the expected 18 to 24 month construction period.