January 2, 2014
One of the main reasons I ran for school board was to bring attention to the neglected and deplorable conditions of our Culver City School Natatorium swimming pool which has been shuttered since 1991.
Although I lost the election, I succeeded in making most Culver City residents aware that it doesn't make common sense to spend $10.7 million to demolish "our school pool" and replace it with a multipurpose facility that would be used to accommodate only 80 students.
In contrast, the estimated cost to "fix our school pool" and refurbish the natatorium building that could be used by 6,500 students is around $3 million.
The Natatorium is the poster child of the waste and neglect that has happened to our Culver City school district. In addition, all our school sites including Robert Frost auditorium are in need of capital facilities improvements.
In response to fixing these facilities, the school district is planning to float a $69 million general obligation bond that would be put before the voters in the next June primary ballot of 2014.
The school district has been working on a DRAFT of a Facilities Master Plan which incorporates the "Needs Assessment Plan" for our district which was prepared by Balfor Beatty Construction.
Unfortunately, the DRAFT of the Masters Facility Plan does not include the option of "fixing our Natatorium School pool". Instead, it is a glossed over version of Balfor Beatty's plan to: "demolish, Backfill and Recompact pool areas, Removal of existing pools (bottom, walls, and deck)".
Those words were not included in the Draft Master Facilities Plan even though the current Master Facility Draft would amount to the same thing- the demolition and destruction of "our school pool.”
In regards to the Natatorium, I believe the Master Facilities Draft Plan is disingenuous and violates the principal of transparency that is so important in gaining the trust of our voters.
Although a general obligation bond is necessary for the improvement of our school facilities, I do not believe the voters will support a bond that includes wasteful spending and no common sense in regards to spending $10.7 million to demolish the Natatorium School pool that could serve 6,500 students and only cost $3 million to fix.
I would urge the school district to include "fixing our school pool" in any survey done to gauge the support of voters who will ultimately decide on whether or not to support a school bond.