ALAMEDA -- A three-step proposal for the run-down swimming pools at Encinal and Alameda high schools' swim centers has been slimmed down to one option: the retrofit of Encinal Swim Center.

The remaining two proposals -- to make competitive pool upgrades and separate the pool systems at the Emma Hood Swim Center at Alameda High and to later build a new pool there -- are off the table because of city and school district budget constraints.

A subcommittee of school and city representatives voted Wednesday to focus on the Encinal upgrades, projected to cost about $500,000. The city and school district will each pay a portion of the expenses. The Emma Hood upgrades estimate was set at about $60,000, and the cost of a new pool there was projected at nearly $2.7 million.

The city and the district have an agreement in which the city funds routine maintenance of the swim centers, and the district handles capital improvements and major repairs. The arrangement was made to help the school district fund needed repairs at the facilities, which are located at Alameda High School and Encinal High School. City Manager John Russo said he didn't want the city to take "stopgap" actions and preferred a long-term solution.

"The pools have been on their last legs for years," he said. "This is a ticking clock. I don't know how much more financial help the city can give."

Councilwoman Lena Tam said while focusing on Encinal repairs isn't a long-term solution, the city can't afford a long-term solution at the moment. School trustee Barbara Kahn agreed.


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"I don't think we can afford anything fancy," she said. "We need the pool to be clean and safe -- basic things."

Mayor Marie Gilmore directed the two staffs to work together to firm up a plan for Encinal's pool repairs.

"Let's get a joint proposal, and then we'll figure out what to do with Emma Hood," she said. "Let's focus our energy and money on the Encinal pool now because it's economically feasible, as opposed to Emma Hood."

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