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LBCC Trustee Sunny Zia Requests Agenda Item Re Planned LBCC Aquatics Center For Information/Discussion After Taxpayers Kajer and Cantrell Urge Exploring Joint Use With City is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(April 2, 2017. 5:00 p.m.) -- LBCC Trustee Sunny Zia has requested that a planned LBCC Aquatics Center, which is among items listed for funding using a June 2016 voter-approved LBCC bond measure (Measure LB), be agendized for information and discussion at next month's, or the following month's, meeting of LBCC's Board of Trustees.

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Trustee Zia's request at the March 28 Board meeting came after Gordana Kajer and Ann Cantrell spoke during the period for public comment on non-agendized items to urge that LBCC explore joint use with the City of Long Beach of LBCC's planned and bond-funded Aquatics Center. Ms. Kajer and Ms. Cantrell oppose City Hall plans to build a $103+ million Aquatics Center at Olympic Plaza in Belmont Shore using Tidelands Funds (currently roughly $40+ million short of the anticipated cost.)

The LBCC Aquatic Center's pool dimensions would be the same Olympic-size, competition-level pool (50 meters by 25 yards) proposed for Belmont Shore. Trustee Zia indicated that she was interested in learning more about the planned project in response to the public testimony, to seek information and invite discussion of a joint use and noted that after receiving information the Board may or may not wish to entertain further.

Ms. Kajer and Ms. Cantrell came to the LBCC Board meeting to be heard on the matter after a March 19 report/perspective piece by described the planned LBCC Aquatics Center and plans to start its design phase in the coming months.

March 28: Ms. Cantrell (foreground) and Ms. Kajer await the opportunity to speak on non-agendized matters (the last item on the LBCC Trustees' open meeting agenda.)

Ms. Kajer: ...The pool that the City is proposing to be built [at Belmont Plaza] isn't funded. It's a $103 million project versus the proposed project for your pool which is roughly $28 million. We need more Olympic size pools in the City of Long Beach, pools for recreation, pools for family, for students, for our community...I'm on appellant [to the City Council] on that [Planning Comm'n approved] decision to build that pool. If feel that pool is too pricey, it's in the wrong place and it's a bad policy for the City of Long Beach. I'm here to ask you, in a very uninformed way, to find out if there is an opportunity for LBCC and the City to develop a joint project. Your Measure LB funds call for partnerships between the City, the community and students. I wonder if this might be an opportunity to build a pool here on your campus that could meet the needs of the City of Long Beach and their proposed project at the Plaza...I'd like to start a dialogue: how can we develop a plan that could potentially serve the needs of our community in a way that saves everybody money but develops an Aquatics Center that we could all be proud of. I ask you simply to open some communication...

Ms. Cantrell: ...I too am here to talk about the Belmont Plaza pool and the possibility that your suggested pool, we might have a partnership with the City...I understand the timeline is this summer of 2017 that [the planning stage] will be going on and that you are going to be doing the design in 2018 and I think this is the ideal time to start talking about whether this could be a partnership...

Following comments by Trustee Otto, Trustee Zia stated:

Trustee Zia: ...I'd like to get more information and explore the input we received tonight to see if it's a viable option...It would be interesting to get information on this item so we can have an opportunity to explore the idea. At its face, it seems pretty plausible but I'd like to find out more, so would it be possible to get a future report on the item at a later meeting?

LBCC Interim Superintendent-President Ann Marie Gabel extemporaneously offered a cogent and candid overview of the current status of the matter:

Interim Sup't-President Gabel: ...The City approached us in wanting us to go in partnership with the City, so basically take the $28 million that we had allocated [from the bond proceeds] to build an Aquatics Center here on our campus, they had asked us to take those funds and put it into the Belmont Plaza project. We denied that request for many reasons but primarily because it's not in the best interest of our students. Our swimming pool is used from probably 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. almost every single day which includes weekends and so in looking at trying to do a joint use with the City, we don't have a whole lot of free time that would be available for residents of the city to use. The other aspect is we are building one swimming pool and the Belmont Plaza I believe has five swimming pools which includes a diving platform, a complex that seats over 2,000 individuals, a warm-up pool, I mean it is a complex. What we are building will be one pool that will meet the needs of college and will be in accordance with the competition needed for a college and not necessarily the competition needed for the Olympics, which is what is proposed at the Belmont Plaza.

Trustee Otto: ...I'm not expressing an opinion one way or the other the bond measure you have to list the projects that you're going to fund with those monies and pretty much how much they're going to cost, not exactly obviously, and it just creates barriers to moving forward in some ways...[W]e passed a bond measure that, again, constrains us in many ways in terms of how we can move forward on these things and we can still talk about it I'm sure...

Trustee Zia: ...It would be important for us to look at the information that perhaps was presented in the past and also this is the community's college, the last time I checked. I think it would be important for us to explore what are some of the benefits or maybe some sort of a partnership if that's even possible. I'd like to have an understanding of that...and I'd like to have a better understanding of what we're looking at...[exchange between Otto and Zia]...Obviously this information pertains to our bond and it is a pool that's Olympic size that the community may benefit. I'd like to have a better understanding, I'd like to have the information, to be mindful of what the public is expressing to us and not just dismiss it...I'm asking for an agenda item, Madam President, to be placed on the next Board agenda, or the following one, to discuss it so we can properly agendize it and discuss it and have consistent and same information for all Trustees to explore...



The LBCC planned Aquatics Center came to's attention through LBCC's Feb. 28 publication of its "2016 Citizens' Oversight Committee Annual Report" which included the following:

Upcoming Construction Projects

2017 will have several large-scale projects [including] continuing the design phase for the Outdoor Kinesiology Labs including the new Aquatic Center. Our Facilities Department and Bond Management Team will lead the projects. The projects and their status are reported to the Facilities Advisory Committee and the Citizens' Oversight Committee during the year.

The Annual Report further states:

[Oversight Committee Annual Report text and graphic] This project is the construction of a new 50 meter x 25 yard pool as well as a 12,000 sq. ft. (approx.) shower/locker facility in a location near the existing pool. The existing pool has extensive maintenance and repair problems that cannot be cost effectively addressed, thereby requiring this project...

[Graphic accompanying report text, right]

[Initial plan shows east at the top, with Carson St. vertically on left half of page. Source: Enlarged portion of LBCC Facilities Master Plan, May 2016]

The LBCC Aquatics Center was included in LBCC's "2041 Facilities Master Plan" issued in May 2016, listing and describing various projects that LBCC said it would fund using the Measure LB bond revenue (approved by voters in June 2016.) (Property owners within the LBCC District, including Long Beach, Signal Hill, Avalon and part of Lakewood, will now pay $25 per year for every $100,000 of their property's Tax-Assessor assessed value.)

Among the Master Plan-described projects is the LBCC Aquatics Center:

[Text in LBCC Facilities Master Plan]...BUILDING W- AQUATIC CENTER

Due to its age, the existing swimming pool has significant and extensive repair issues that cannot be cost effectively addressed. The Aquatic Center project involves construction of a new 50 meter x 25 yd. pool. Scope of work also includes construction of a support building of approximately 12,000 square feet to provide showers, locker rooms, storage, pool equipment and office space. The new pool will be constructed along Carson Street to better accommodate its increased space needs.

SIGNIFICANCE: The Aquatic Center project addresses the major and costly repair problems associated with the existing pool and shall provide a modern, state-of-the-art complex to meet the needs of the instructional Kinesiology program as well as intercollegiate athletics. This project also provides much needed shower and locker room facilities when the existing gyms are closed for renovation at a later phase of the 2041 Master Plan Schedule.

PROJECT TYPE : New Construction.

ESTIMATED COST (includes escalation): $28,137,500

The graphic above includes the line-item text immediately below:

Source: LBCC Facilities Master Plan

In addition, LBCC's official Measure LB "Project List" -- the legal representation to taxpayers of items to be funded by the then-proposed debt-bond -- included the following:

"...(ix) Repair, improve and construct additional athletic laboratories, including an aquatic center, to serve District students, members of the general public and qualified athletic organizations

...(xv) Seek opportunities for joint use of facilities with Long Beach Unified School District, the City of Long Beach and other public agencies."

The LBCC Aquatics Center is currently planned just south of Carson St., between Faculty Dr. and the Tennis Courts, close to the large parking lot at adjoining Veterans Stadium. Its planning and design phases are scheduled to begin soon, with planning anticipated to begin in the summer of 2017 and design to follow in 2018. During these phases, initial assumptions for a relatively simple pool could presumably be upgraded -- at some costs and with issues not yet examined or discussed -- to include larger spectator audiences, higher diving platforms and other amenities that advocates of the Belmont Shore location have argued could bring major events and produce revenue.

Below is LBCC's Aquatic Center timing schedule showing planning scheduled to begin in summer 2017 (purple line) with design expected in 2018 (green line) and completion slated by mid 2021 (orange line).

On March 24, advocates of building the Belmont Shore Aquatics Center posted the following on their Facebook page:

["Rebuild Belmont Plaza" Facebook page text] We were pleased to learn this week that Long Beach City College is planning to build a new 50-meter by 25-yard pool and locker room on its main campus, using an estimated $28,000,000 in bond funds from the June 2016 voter-approved Measure LB. Any new aquatic facility constructed in Long Beach is a very good thing for not only LBCC students, but also the general public.

However, seems to believe [at this link] this is a viable alternative to the Belmont pool replacement project. Hard to believe one new 50Mx25Y outdoor pool at LBCC, would be comparable to the 5 pools (2 of which are also planned to be of similar size) plus 2 small whirlpools at the proposed Belmont complex. Also, as pointed out in the article, the LBCC pool is expected to be primarily used by the college for its own students and aquatic programs, and may not have space and time available for use by outside groups, including city recreational programs and qualified athletic organizations.

Nonetheless, a new pool at LBCC will be a wonderful addition to the historically strong aquatic community of Long Beach.

Aquatics supporters have said the Belmont Shore Aquatics Center will enable major swim meets and competitive events that will draw visitors, produce revenue and build Long Beach's reputation as an Aquatics Capital.

Image via City of LB Power Point

Looking west from spectator seating. Image via City of LB Power Point

Looking south from 10 meter diving platform. Image via City of LB Power Point

View from the beach, looking east. Image via City of LB Power Point

View from Belmont Pier parking lot. Image via City of LB Power Point

Image via City of LB Power Point


Sponsor: Computer Repair Long Beach

May 16 is the newly scheduled date for City Council consideration of appeals filed by a number of individuals to the Planning Commission's voted approval (without dissents) of a draft EIR, related project approvals and a zoning variance to allow the Belmont Plaza proposed facility to proceed. The Belmont Shore project will also still require Coastal Commission approval. Funding sources for roughly $40+ million needed to build the $103+ million proposed Belmont Shore facility remain to be identified by management and, if so, approved by a City Council majority.

Developing. Further to follow.




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