LBUSD moves forward with pool revitalization, classroom upgrades

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The Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Board of Education awarded contracts for design services for the modernization of the Laguna Beach High School pool and classroom upgrades at El Morro and Top of the World Elementary School, projects in the district’s Ten-Year Facilities Master Plan (FMP) during its March 14 meeting.

A conceptual rendering of the future Laguna Beach High School pool. Image courtesy of Ruhnau Clarke Architects.

The classroom upgrades will support the state-mandated expansion of the Universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program, which requires public school districts to make TK available to all four-year-old children by the 2025-2026 school year. El Morro Elementary School will also host the Laguna Beach Preschool program, slated to open in the fall of 2024. This program is designed to teach developmental and pre-academic school readiness skills necessary for a successful transition to elementary education. The preschool will offer inclusion opportunities for a diverse group of early learners from various backgrounds and capabilities, including students with special education needs.  

The LBHS Community Pool has been a designated capital improvement project since 2015 and is one of the last projects awaiting completion. 

The school district said in a release that the Laguna Beach City Council’s unanimous decision to pursue its own path for a community pool ends a longstanding partnership that has provided aquatic recreational opportunities to the community for more than 30 years. 

“Given the City Council’s recent decision, the design will no longer incorporate shared-use considerations,” the release said. “Since 2023, discussions between the district and the city have been crucial in shaping the future of the community pool.”

In joint subcommittee meetings held between 2023 and early 2024, the city and school district looked into design possibilities, operational needs and financial planning. For LBUSD, operational needs included additional deep-water lanes for aquatic programs. For the city, staff determined an increase in shallow water lanes as a non-negotiable requirement.

“For more than three decades, the joint use agreement for the LBHS Community Pool has benefited not only our students but Laguna Beach residents at large. Given our city’s unique constraints and limited opportunities for new construction, the Board has always prioritized the continuation of this longstanding collaboration,” said LBUSD Board of Education President Jan Vickers. “We recognize the invaluable recreational opportunities our facilities offer and are excited to begin the design process for these projects to ensure they serve the diverse needs of our students, as part of providing a comprehensive school experience.”

As the district starts the design process for the new pool in the coming weeks, it will consider factors such as the ability to host home games, enhance spectator seating, add more deep-water lanes, incorporate sustainability features, and ensure code compliance. 

The process will also explore strategies to lessen light and glare, reduce construction and operational noise, and address traffic impacts to ensure minimal disruption to the surrounding neighborhoods. 

“The goal is to create a premier facility that supports simultaneous team practices, reduces overcrowding and accommodates various LBHS programs,” a release from the district stated.

Based on the current project schedule, staff expect to publicly bid on the project and award construction contracts by the end of 2025.

The district aims to minimize the pool’s downtime and has adopted a “summer sprint” model for its construction. Project timelines suggest that the pool will go under construction for six months, from March to August 2026, with the pool support buildings slated for completion by late 2026.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Advancing personal agenda items with little or NO concern for the Parents, Students or Community of Laguna Beach has become common place under the current leadership of the LBUSD. The School Board is nothing more than a rubber stamp to advance leaderships pet peeve projects which allows the LBUSD to re-direct the focus from the declining test scores; declining enrollment; Student drug use, and failed DEI policies the LBUSD has been pushing.
    Parents pulling their children out of the LBUSD in record numbers as test scores decline and the answer from our current leadership is to build a pool?
    Notice how no one from the School District put their name on the press release.
    Jason Viloria and the LBUSD School Board need to go.
    We have the most beautiful campuses on the planet with an abundance of resources. We need the LBUSD to start concentrating on academics, curriculum, and college readiness so our students on so depressed about their futures.

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