Having sold the Verano Avenue land initially proposed for the project, the nonprofit Sonoma Splash is now focused on bringing a community pool to Sonoma Valley High School. The two-pool complex would be located on roughly the same site as the old school facility, which was filled in some 20 years ago, and could be open by the summer of 2022.
Splash President Paul Favaro said the school district has embraced the idea of a public pool on school grounds, and he is confident the deal will get done. To fund the collaboration, Splash would contribute approximately $1.5 million from its land sale (see page 7), and the school district would use bond money to cover construction.
Favaro defines “community pool” as a facility with “meaningful access” not based on membership, as with a swim or health club. While monthly and seasonal passes will be available, the day rate is pegged now at about $5. Swim lessons and related classes would bring in additional revenue to go towards ongoing operations.
To oversee the facility, Favaro foresees a management committee comprised of district representatives, Splash appointees, and perhaps members of the public. “The school will own and control everything.”
The plan in discussion now calls for two pools, one reserved for school and competition use. The other, primarily for the public, would be fenced off, allowing use during school hours. That area would include a changing/locker room, and be served by a dedicated parking lot. “The more access, the more revenue,” Favaro said.
The district will hire the architect and the construction company, with informed advice from Splash, which developed specific plans and expertise while researching the Verano Avenue facility. Much of that knowledge transfers directly to a new location, Favaro said. If progress continues, and because school district property is not bound to certain permitting delays, the pool could be completed in the spring of 2022.
The City of Sonoma had pledged $250,000 to Splash – $25k per year for 10 years – once the Verano location opened. Favaro said he hopes to persuade the City Council to keep that deal in place regardless of location.
“The pieces are in place to be successful.”