Albany voters will be asked to approve a $10 million bond to replace the city’s aging pool in February’s primary election, according to a decision made by Albany Unified School District Board unanimously at a special meeting on Tuesday.
The bond money would be used to replace Albany Pool with two new pools and several classrooms adjacent to the pool building at Albany High School if approved by 55 percent Albany voters.
“To get that 55 percent vote approval, you need to be extremely explicit with voters about what you are asking for, ” said Board President Miriam Walden. “The best thing to do is not to ask for a full extension of what we can get, ” she said later.
The two new pools will both be indoors, the board decided after hearing from Albany residents.
Three to five classrooms will be constructed as part of the pool rebuilding project in order to alleviate the overcrowding problem of Albany High School, which is close to the pool site.
An architect will soon be hired to provide conceptual design for the project, and further details of the structure will be announced in about a month, according to Superintendent William Wong of the school district.
If approved in the Feb. 5 election, the bond would be issued in two series, the first $5 million in August 2008 and the second half in the following August.
Property owners in Albany would pay an average of $34 per $100,000 assessed valuation on their homes for about 20 years for the bond.
Albany residents are paying $165 per $100,000 assessed value of their property this year for two previous school bonds in 1993 and 2004.
The current pool will be closed in the coming summer or fall, and the new pools will be open a year after that, if the project proceeds according to schedule.
“I am impressed with the board’s focus and ability to take prompt action, ” said Ira Sharenow, an Albany resident who first urged the board to improve the pool in last fall. “I appreciate the fact that the school board was so responsive to the input from an average Albany resident, ” he said later.
But some residents criticized the board for poorly informing them of the rebuilding plan in the past months and not giving them enough time to advocate for the bond measure.
“Getting people to work on a campaign as we go into the busy holiday season will be difficult,” said Karen Holzmeister, who has been using the current pool for four decades.
(Click here to read an earlier story about the pool-rebuilding bond. )