Pool’s New Design Sacrifices Seating for Dive Well
Later this month, officials will publicly show a new Belmont Plaza Pool design incorporating a separate diving well at a cost of diminished seating capacity.
The public meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 17 in the Will Rogers Middle School Auditorium, 365 Monrovia Ave.
A dive well apart from an indoor pool has been a sticking point for aquatics advocates eager to replicate the competitive successes of the current Belmont Pool, the site of the 1968 and 1976 U.S. Olympic trials. The pool was closed in January 2013 after seismic deficiencies in the structure were found.
Staff presented a proposal in June for a replacement facility with an indoor Olympic-size pool with an integrated diving well, an outdoor pool and 2,500 permanent seats. A detached diving well was not part of the design, largely because officials said the feature could balloon the project’s cost from a planned $99 million to as high as $128 million.
A committee consisting of city officials and stakeholders met this summer to come up with an alternative. The new, recommended design includes a 50-meter indoor pool with a movable floor allowing shallow water for public recreational needs and deep water for competitions.
It also features the separated diving well, a therapy and teaching pool, a 50-meter deep- water outdoor pool and an outdoor recreational pool.
To stay within budget, restaurant space has been reduced, banquet space has been cut entirely and the facility will have 650 seats indoors – which would preclude hosting large events, such as NCAAchampionships and USA Swimming Club Nationals that require a minimum 1,250 seats.
Various options included in the recommended design could increase indoor seating capacity to as many as 1,500 seats, at a total project cost of $105.7 million, according to a city document. California Coastal Commission staff members have indicated they support the plan, city officials said.
Demolition of the Belmont Plaza Pool is expected to start later this month.
Aquatics community members are working with the city to save parts of the facility, such as the dedication plaque and international flags hung around the swim area.
Though sought after, tiles from the pool and diving well cannot be preserved because of lead and asbestos content, officials say.
This article was republished with permission from the author, Eric Bradley. The article was originally published in the Post-Telegram and can be viewed by clicking here.