Your community pool questions, answered

From the City of Piedmont on Friday, Jan. 14:

The City of Piedmont and ELS Architecture and Urban Design ran the first of three community workshops on Nov. 2, 2021. During the workshop, questions and comments were gathered from the community. The following list has been compiled as a summary of the most frequently asked questions to be answered by the City of Piedmont.

  1. What will be the cost to use the facility? Will residents be given discounted rates? Senior discounts?
    As part of the programming and operational analysis, which will come later in the design process, the City will work to design an equitable fee structure to ensure that any required operational subsidy is sustainable while keeping the fees affordable and in line with a public community pool. As with most of our Recreation programs, there will likely be a resident discount as well as priority registration for programs. Other discounts such as seniors or family will be evaluated as part of the operational analysis.
  2. Will this facility be open to all of the Bay Area?
    The Piedmont Community Pool will be a public facility and, like our old pool and all public pools, will not be restricted to residents only. However, it is not the intent of the City to design and market the new community pool as a regional destination for large competitions or events. The new facility is intended to serve the local community including residents of Piedmont as well as our neighbors. The expectation is that residents will receive priority for registration and use when capacity is limited as well as discounted rates.
  3. How many members or users are projected to use the facility versus the old pool?
    This will be part of the operational analysis, but it is safe to say that there will be significantly more family and recreational use given the old facility had very limited recreational water.
  4. Are we increasing the water space compared to the old community pool?
    Yes! The old community pools had a combined water surface area of 4,670sf. The proposed two new pools (competition pool and recreation pool) have a combined water surface area of 10,394sf – more than twice the area of the old community pools combined!
  5. Can the pools use a chlorine alternative?
    California health code requires all public swimming pools, such as the Piedmont Community Pool, maintain a chlorine residual to protect against recreational water illnesses. There are several chlorine delivery methods such as liquid chlorine, tablet chlorine, or saltwater systems. We will be working with everyone to determine the best options for the Piedmont pool.
  6. Will Piedmont’s CO2 emissions increase with the new pool?
    The goal is zero emissions from pools and building operations, but we will not know until further analysis is completed for an all-electric design. The complete analysis will coincide with the submission of final schematic design documentation scheduled for April 2022.
  7. Will the pool offer scuba training, masters swim team, and other new programming?
    The City and ELS will dive into a programming study at Workshop #3. At that time, we will discuss what additional programming could be provided at the new Piedmont Community Pool.
  8. Thoughts on a hot tub and/or sauna?
    Thus far, preliminary programming has not included either a hot tub or sauna. Both elements could be considered in the context of the budget, space constraints, and user need. A hot tub could be located on the pool deck, and a sauna could be located within locker room areas. We will look forward to more discussion on this topic at Workshops #2 and #3.
  9. Are there plans for a fitness/gym component to this project?
    Thus far, preliminary programming has not included a specific fitness/gym component. The programming, however, does include two to three multipurpose rooms that could be used and operated in several ways. For instance, one room could have a wood “sprung floor” that could serve as an aerobic studio, a yoga studio and a community meeting room at different times of the day or the week. Another possibility would be to dedicate one of the rooms to cardio equipment – thus creating a cardio-equipment room. There are also a number of community needs for gathering and meeting, thus there is a “balance” to determining the highest and best use for the multipurpose space in the new building. We look forward to continuing the discussion on this topic.
  10. What’s going to happen to the Dress Best for Less marking room? Will they have space inside the new building or be relocated?
    The building that currently houses the DBFL marking room will be demolished as part of this project. Unfortunately, there will not be space in the new Community Pool facility to house DBFL. We encourage the DBFL organization to explore alternative sites in Piedmont. The City welcomes the opportunity to participate in this exploration.
  11. How is additional parking going to be handled? Will competition events such as swim meets and water polo tournaments need additional parking space?
    First, it should be understood that the City is only considering hosting dual meet competitions consistent with previous pool history. The City is not planning to host regional swim meets or water polo tournaments with high parking demands. As the design process advances, every opportunity to increase on-street parking opportunities will be analyzed and, where feasible, implemented.
  12. Are there elements of the project that can be donated or part of a fundraising effort?
    While we expect the project costs to be covered entirely by bond proceeds, we also recognize that there may be interest in private contributions for “extra and nice-to-have amenities” as well as a desire to donate to a project that many community members feel deeply connected to. For these reasons, as the design progresses, strong consideration will be given to providing opportunities for fundraising and donations.
  13. The City approved four vehicle chargers on Magnolia Avenue. When the streets are blocked for pool construction, how will people wishing to use the chargers get to them?
    As a general condition of the construction contract, chargers will remain fully accessible during the construction of the pool.
  14. How is the City communicating with the residential property owners near the facility?
    The City has met with the neighbors and will continue to keep them apprised. To facilitate open and regular communication with the neighbors and with the broader Piedmont community, the City is committed to providing regular updates on the City website. Additionally, the City will create a “HELP” phone line so that questions, concerns, or problems can be reported and responded to promptly.
  1. Will the facility have lighting suitable for evening and night use?
    The lighting will be suitable for early morning and night swimming. The facility will also meet lighting requirements for appropriate illumination about all exterior pool deck surfaces within the secured aquatic center area. The facility will not have competition level lighting, but the design team is investigating the possibility of providing lighting levels that will support safe water polo practice during evening hours.
  2. Will the second level of the building be secured?
    Yes. While the balcony and terrace spaces on the second level will remain accessible to the public, multipurpose rooms on this level, including restrooms and the stair and elevator that provide access to the pool lobby on the first level will be secured during non-operation hours. The integrated design of the pool area and the second floor uses also has the flexibility for the two levels to operate independently, i.e., the second-floor multipurpose rooms could remain in use or open, when the community pool is closed to the public, as the second floor is
    equipped with dedicated entries, exits and restrooms.
  3. How much does the building, as opposed to the pools contribute to the project cost?
    Conceptually, and as a percentage of overall direct construction cost, the breakdown of pools vs. building can be expressed as follows:
    • Pools (Includes site work, decking, landscaping, pool equipment) = Approximately 40%
    • Building = Approximately 40% (Roughly 60% of this portion is required by code and best practices to
    support aquatic activities, and essentially includes all the first-floor functions – locker rooms, showers,
    restrooms, reception/lobby, lifeguard and first-aid room and aquatic director’s office.)
    • General Contractors Overhead and Profit + Insurance + Bond + Permits & Fees = Approximately 20%
  4. How will the facility generate income? The city has recently engaged an Aquatic Center Operations Consultant, Isaac Sports Group (ISG) charged with answering that question. ISG’s draft report is slated to be presented to the Pool Advisory Committee on Feb. 17, 2022, and a final report is expected to be presented to City Council in March.
  5. Is PUSD helping to fund the project?
    This project is funded entirely by Measure UU. PUSD and the City have a longstanding history of sharing facilities. For example, PUSD does not have tennis courts or a swimming pool while the City does not own any gymnasiums or full size athletic fields.
  6. Is the design of Hillside Park included in the project budget? No. The design was provided during the concept phase to show the potential of a park adjoining the aquatic center development, as well as the potential of the outdoor environment that is contiguous with the Recreation Center Building. Hillside Park, as it is called in the ELS concept design, is outside the scope of Measure UU funds.
  7. Is there a plan to replace the basketball courts?
    There is no current plan to replace the basketball courts. The City intends to engage PUSD in conversation about potential expansion of public use of the outdoor basketball courts at Piedmont Middle School.

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