The Cambrian

Cambria pool not in fast lane: Here’s what needs to happen next

An artist’s rendering of a proposed pool at Coast Union High School.
An artist’s rendering of a proposed pool at Coast Union High School.

Pooling their efforts? Not just yet.

Community supporters of a new pool at Cambria’s high school will have gain nonprofit status before the board will consider a potential partnership on what could be a $3 million to $5 million project.

Coast Unified board President Del Clegg told the pool’s backers at a board meeting Thursday, June 29, that they would have to get their nonprofit status approved and return with an update for the board in January.

Beth Yudovin and Dave Griffith made their case for the pool, which they said would not involve the board committing any money. Instead, what they were hoping for was a letter of intent that the board was open to using land behind the high school tennis courts for a pool.

Such a pool, they said, could be used by Coast Union High School students and community members alike.

Proponents said a group of about 45 people has been meeting regularly to discuss the project for about 10 months now. Although the shallow pool at Shamel Park fills a need, Griffith said, it’s mainly for young children. It’s also open only for a limited time each year, during the summer, and the group envisions a pool that would be available year-round.

“Our kids love the Shamel Park pool, but they’ve already outgrown it,” he said. “Many families can’t transport their kids to pools in Paso Robles or Morro Bay.”

“We’re one of the only coastal communities that does not have a high school pool,” Griffith added, ticking off potential uses for a community pool such as scuba classes, physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Yudovin said her late husband David Yudovin, a world-class distance swimmer, “felt that swimming is the best exercise you can have, both mentally and physically. I builds self-esteem, it builds endurance, and it’s just so good for you.”

Displaying renderings of the proposed site, Yudovin outlined a proposal for a 25-meter pool behind the tennis courts, along with a smaller pool and lockers for community members that would be separate from and off the high school campus. The group would also provide a cover for the pool and an endowment fund for maintenance.

After the pool is filled initially, they said, water use would be less than what a single household would use in a year.

Yudovin and Griffith put the baseline cost for the project at $3 million, but potentially as high as $5 million. They said they had spoken to an architect in San Luis Obispo who is designing a pool for San Luis Obispo High School.

The sticking point seemed to be nonprofit status for the group, which wanted a letter of interest from the board before proceeding, arguing that it would be difficult to raise money without at least some sense that the district could support it.

“In order to raise money, we need a location,” Barbara Bronson Gray, a community member who supports the pool, said Friday morning.

Clegg, on the other hand, said the pool backers should obtain nonprofit status before seeking any involvement from the district.

About 25 people were in the audience for the meeting, and most of them appeared to have turned out specifically for the pool presentation. When it was done, all but about four or five filed out of the room, leaving the board to complete its business.

Bronson Gray, who said she had received support for the project on a Facebook post, added that the pool’s supporters would meet in the next month to continue their work.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Superintendent Vicki Schumacher said Coast Union Principal Scott Ferguson will be adding principal’s duties at Leffingwell High School, while Santa Lucia Middle School Principal Kyle Martin will be taking over student services. The changes follow the retirement of Bob Watt, Cambria Grammar School principal, effective in mid-July.

Up next

The district board won’t hold a regular meeting in July, but will meet again Aug. 10 and, in closed session on Aug. 24, to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation.