OCEANSIDE — Concept plans for a $12 million aquatic center at El Corazon Park were shared at a public workshop on Jan. 20.
The proposed swim complex will sit just beyond the senior center courtyard, and boast two outdoor pools and a kiddy splash pad. Justin Carson, vice president of Aquatic Design Group, compared its look to that of the Alga Norte Aquatic Center in Carlsbad.
The planned 56-meter competition pool sizes up to 186 feet by 75 feet. The smaller instruction and warmup pool measures 82 feet by 75 feet.
A new building will house showers and lockers. Adjacent to the pool there will be a restroom building, shaded turf area and viewing bleachers.
Enthusiasm for the project was high at the workshop.
Oceanside resident Midori Simovich shared her support. She has a son on the El Camino High School water polo team, but sees benefits for the whole community.
“It’s not for my son, it’s for the city,” Simovich said.
The aquatic center will serve city and high school swim and water polo teams, hold swim lessons, and have hours for lap swim, aqua fitness classes and recreational use. The competition pool will allow all high school swim team members to practice at the same time, and be a home pool for tournaments.
“The whole council is in support of this,” Councilman Jack Feller said. “Making it a priority is something we agreed to already.”
It is still uncertain how the city will pay for the swimming complex. Funding through private donations, issuing bonds and other sources will be explored as the city moves forward with the two-year process of completing environmental reports and design plans.
Feller and Councilman Jerry Kern had some concerns about funding, and did not warm up to the idea of issuing bonds to pay for the project.
Once funding is secured and construction begins the aquatic center will take nine months to build. Infrastructure will be put in first, and the three pools may be built in phases if $12 million in funding cannot be secured all at once.
Peter Weiss, city consultant and former city manager, estimates it would cost $700,000 annually to run the complex, which would generate $400,000 in reserves. The cost of operations is considered low compared to $500,000 to run the much smaller and dated Brooks Street Swim Center pool, which is currently overbooked with users.
Plans are to renovate the Brooks Street Swim Center and keep it and the Marshall Street Swim Center open after the complex is built.
A City Council workshop will be held Feb. 11 to approve $300,000 for environmental studies to move the aquatic center forward.