The nearly 50-year-old swimming pool at Half Moon Bay High School is showing its age, say Friends of Half Moon Bay Parks and Recreation board members, and plans are currently underway to construct a new pool that would meet water polo competition standards and be open to the public during non-school hours.
Longtime Friends of Half Moon Bay Parks and Recreation board member Shahrzhad Pantera says interest in a community pool has floated up to priority status in Half Moon Bay.
“It’s been the No. 1 thing out of all the community outreach,” Pantera said. “One thing that we really needed is a community pool.”
Couple that with the fact that the Half Moon Bay High School water polo players can’t compete on their own campus because the existing pool isn’t deep enough and recreation planners have a mandate.
The current Half Moon Bay High School pool is available for community use when not needed by the students. For example, a group of Coastside adults called the Mavericks Swimming Team makes use of the pool before school starts, sometimes arriving as early as 5 a.m. However, having two pools available on the campus would allow for more consistent access to the facility beyond off-hour and summertime opportunities.
Half Moon Bay High School Principal John Nazar acknowledged the interest in a new pool while also
highlighting the challenge involved in such an endeavor.
“There’s obviously been an interest in a community pool at the high school for quite a few years,” said Nazar. “It’s a pretty big challenge and an expensive undertaking.”
While there may be some funding available through the Measure M school bond that passed this summer, Nazar cautions that the high school needs to juggle that need with other priorities such as replacing old infrastructure and bringing classrooms up to 21st century standards.
“Our primary focus is that every dollar at this high school is used effectively and efficiently and there’s no waste,” the principal said. “If someone has the ability to come in with the funding part (for the pool) I know our district would be interested in listening.”
The Friends of Half Moon Bay Parks and Recreation are working on that. Board member Eric Harger also has a personal interest because his son takes part in the water polo and swim teams at the school. He acknowledges that his son will have long since graduated by the time a new pool is a reality.
“They have to drive over all the way to (College of San Mateo) for practice,” said Harger.
A couple months ago, Harger began setting up donation boxes for a new community pool at various Coastside locations, including Spangler’s Market, El Granada Beverage and La Petite Baleen. Through those boxes, he says the Friends have raised about $1,000 but total funding sits just below $30,000 as of last week.
Harger said that it’s hard to predict exactly how much a new pool might cost but it could hover between $7 million to $9 million depending on various factors such as whether there would be two pools — one for the students and one for the public.
Regardless, the old pool could definitely use an upgrade, says Harger.
“All the schools over the hill have all these beautiful facilities,” Harger said. “And Half Moon Bay has this thing that’s kind of stuck in the mud.”
The next Friends of the Half Moon Bay Parks and Recreation meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 at the Half Moon Bay Library.
Pantera says there will be further discussion of community pool plans at this meeting.