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Beachcomber
5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
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Feature Stories

Projects Could Replace Belmont Olympic Pool

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 5
3/8/2013


By Jeremy Matusow

The City of Long Beach is currently discussing the proposal for the construction of a provisional outdoor pool that would cost approximately $4.2 million. The development of the pool would replace the Belmont Plaza Olympic pool temporarily due to its closure on Jan. 10. According to the City of Long Beach, the facility was considered “substandard” and “structurally unsound.”

The city staff recommended to the City Council the establishment of a brand new facility that would replace the Belmont Indoor Olympic Pool. According to a statement from the city, “The Belmont Olympic Pool, in its current condition, is a substandard building that is seismically and structurally unsafe.”

The facility, which would be assembled where the Belmont Pool exists, would consist of an indoor and outdoor pool. This would balance the recreational and competitive swimming needs of individuals. The project would cost somewhere between $54 to $62 million and take approximately two to three years to complete.

The proposed project would meet the principles for water polo events as well as 50-meter, 25-meter and 25-yard swimming. Included would be the cost of recreational diving boards.

However, taller competitive diving platforms such as 5, 7.5 and 10 meters would cost an additional $8.1 million.

Gary DeLong, Councilmember of the 3rd District of Long Beach, shares his take on the proposed project.

“The new world-class Belmont Aquatic Facility will truly reflect our city’s status as the Aquatic Capital of America, broaden our participation in aquatic sports at the national and international level, and, most importantly, create opportunities for the current and next generations of Long Beach youth,” said DeLong.

DeLong said that the existing Belmont Pool buildings were constructed for the 1968 Olympic swim trials, and the facility gained additional worldwide recognition as the site of the 1976 Olympic swim trials, as well as the NCAA championships in 1974 and 1978.

According to the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool Seismic Evaluation and City Council Proposal, the next step would be to initiate the proposed Project’s entitlement phase, which includes California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) clearance and any required local discretionary approvals such as site plan review.

Because of Paul KT Yeh, Structural Engineer of TMAD Taylor Gaines, who confirmed that the pool was unsafe in the event of an earthquake, alternative options have been put in place to tackle the issue of the Belmont Pool.

According to the seismic evaluation and City Council proposal, the interim options to provide pool facilities are as follows:

• The first option would be to install a temporary outdoor pool in the adjacent parking lot.

• The second would be to conduct an emergency seismic retrofit of the existing columns using a fiber wrap method.

• The third is to conduct selective demolition of the Natatorium to remove the existing roof and strengthen the support columns as well as installing a new roof.

• The final option is to accommodate existing user groups at other city and local pools.

According to the proposal, Option 1 is highly recommended because of cost-efficiency. It would provide much needed pool space during project entitlement. The facility would cost approximately $4.2 million and five to eight months to complete.

However, Option 2 would entail demolition that is complex and lengthy. This particular project would cost approximately anywhere between $4.2 million and $5.5 million and take six to nine months to complete. It would necessitate the existing pools be protected.

The third option involves strengthening the support columns using a fiber wrap method, which would cost approximately $3 million and take three to five months to complete. According to the proposal, this option would be the most affordable but would not provide any interim accommodations should the proposed project proceed to construction.

The final option would accommodate existing user groups at other city and local pools. This would be cost efficient but limit the existing activity, meaning that not every competitive and recreational use could be repositioned to existing pools.

According to the proposal, under fiscal impact, the estimated cost for the long-term project is at least $50 million. The additional, estimated cost for Option 1 of a temporary outdoor pool is $4.2 million, as stated before and is budgeted for FY 13 in the Tidelands Operations Fund (TF 401) in the City Manager Department.

jeremy@longbeachcomber.com