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Long Beach City College Is Starting Work On A Fully-Funded New Aquatics Center That Will Have Olympic-Size Competition-Worthy Pool Like Unfunded Proposed Pool At Belmont Plaza; There's Stadium Parking + New Hotels @ Douglas Park + More Central Location + Existing Bus Lines + Nearly Straight Shot From Four Freeways AND LBCC Included Dual City/Public Use In Voter Approved Bond Documents...So Why Not Use It? 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.
(March 19, 2017, 4:25 p.m., updated 8:40 p.m.) -- On February 28, 2017, the Long Beach Community College District issued its "2016 Citizens' Oversight Committee Annual Report" which included the following nugget:

[LBCC Oversight Committee Annual Report content]

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 Citizensí Oversight Committee during the year.

The Annual Report further states:

[Scroll down for further]

[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...

In other words, LBCC is building an Aquatic Center pool -- that's fully funded now with planning about to get underway -- that will be the same size as the Aquatic Center pool proposed for Belmont Plaza that City Hall acknowledges it can't fully pay for now and has triggered opposition on fiscal, environmental and equity grounds.

The LBCC Aquatics Center is a line item included LBCC's "2041 Facilities Master Plan" issued in May 2016, that LBCC has indicated will be funded by the Measure LB debt bond that LBCC's Board of Trustees placed on the ballot and voters approved in June 2016. (Property owners within the LBCC District, including Long Beach, Signal Hill, Avalon and part of Lakewood) will now pay $25 for every $100,000 of a property's "assessed value." (If the Tax Assessor has assessed your property at [random figure] $400,000, you'll pay $100 more each year.)

Among the Master Plan projects that LBCC has indicated it plans to fund with the Measure LB debt bond money is the LBCC Aquatics Center:

[Among projects in LBCC Facilities Master Plan text]...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

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

Source: LBCC Facilities Master Plan

And very significantly: LBCC's official Measure LB debt-bond "Project List" represented to the public that the measure's funds would be used for projects that include 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 would be just south of Carson St., between Faculty Dr. and the Tennis Courts. There's a large parking lot at adjoining Veterans Stadium. There are new hotels going up at nearby Douglas Park (south of Carson St. along Lakewood Blvd.) LBCC's Liberal Arts campus is more centrally located and more easily accessible for most of LB than SE LB's Belmont Shore, addressing some equity concerns. There are existing bus lines. The location is a nearly straight shot from four freeways (405, 605, 91 and 710).

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

And again: the LBCC Aquatic Center pool would apparently be the same Olympic-size, competition-level pool (50 meters by 25 yards) proposed for Belmont Shore.

No, the City of Long Beach can't simply use the LBCC Aquatics Center. It will belong to the Long Beach Community College District, which is a separate layer of government. However LBCC is governed by an elected Board of Trustees (ultimately answerable to taxpayers) and is to some extent politically cross-pollinated with Long Beach City Council and Mayor (also ultimately answerable to taxpayers) and who urged voters to approve the LBCC debt bond measure

Dual use would obviously require analyzing multiple issues, weighing pros and cons and eventually negotiating an arrangement between the City and LBCC. (Among other things, LBCC might want the City to pay certain sums or provide some resources, potentially a tidy additional benefit for LBCC.)



The Aquatic Center's timing schedule (indicated on the Master Plan chart below) shows planning starting in summer 2017 (purple line) with design expected in 2018 (green line) and completion slated by mid 2021 (orange line). This schedule might also allow incorporating part of the design work already done for the Belmont Plaza area project in the LBCC Aquatic Center. [Mar. 19 8:40 p.m. update: It's currently unclear if the LBCC project will have the high diving platforms and/or the large seating capacity proposed at Belmont Plaza, hut the LBCC Aquatic Center hasn't been designed yet...and it could presumably be designed to incorporate such features.]


Sponsor: Computer Repair Long Beach

LBCC's Board of Trustees was told that an LBCC Aquatics Center would be popular with voters if included in a proposed ballot measure. A December 2015 Power Point presentation by an LBCC-hired professional survey firm indicates it tested various messages about a then-contemplated ballot measure, among which was the following:

[LBCC "Community Survey Highlights" text]...(AQUATIC CENTER) This measure will fund a new aquatic center at Long Beach City College for our community now that the Olympic pool closed. It will serve the entire community to increase residents' recreational opportunities -- this includes hosting swim meets and tournaments for local schools and colleges, swimming lessons and water safety classes for the public and other programs to promote health and fitness

The survey firm Power Point indicates that roughly 66% of telephoned respondents voiced varying levels of support for this.



The fully funded LBCC Aquatics Center has to be weighed against the reality of a proposed Belmont Shore Aquatics facility. It remains strongly supported by LB's Aquatics community but city management acknowledges it doesn't now have the money in hand to build it. The facility's $103+ million estimated cost several years ago likely no longer reflects the real-world cost that City Hall resists estimating publicly. Consuming such a large percentage of Tidelands Funds for one Belmont Shore project precludes applying those Tidelands funds to other shoreline area projects and needs. The Belmont Shore facility also faces environmental hurdles (sea level rise and neighborhood impacts) and criticism on equity grounds (opponents allege benefits for affluent SE LB while shortchanging disadvantaged parts of the city.).

Opponents have already filed appeals of the non-elected Planning Commission's recent approval of entitlements ensuring that the controversial project will come to the policy-setting elected City Council on May 2. The Council's decision may also wind up being appealed the Coastal Commission and the controversial project could eventually end up in court.

Sponsor reports this story because it is newsworthy, timely and a matter of public record. We'll report pros, cons and further developments as we learn them. We believe what we've reported merits examination and we welcome public discussion. We believe the net result could benefit LBCC, the City, its taxpaying residents and qualified athletic organizations.

You're welcome.

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