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Oakdale Dives Into Aquatic Center
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OJUSD Board of Trustees from left, student member Michael Homer, Mike Tozzi, Bill Dyer, Pam Antinetti, former board member Margie Pedro, Rick W. Jones, and Mike House perform a ceremonial groundbreaking on Oct. 14 with “golden” shovels for the new Oakdale High School Aquatic Center. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

Students at Oakdale High School are going to be in deep water. Well, about seven feet of it, as ground has been broken for the new OHS Aquatic Center.

District office and school administrators, school board members, bond oversight committee members, swim and water polo coaches, and those responsible for building and design were all present with “golden” shovels in hand and hardhats on for the official groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 14.

While work on clearing, trenching, and leveling the area had already started, the bid for the aquatic center was awarded at the district’s Oct. 12 Board of Trustees regular meeting to Diede Construction with a bid of $2.96 million.

The building of the aquatic center is the fulfillment of the final item promised on the 2002 Measure C school bond. Inflation in the building industry had forced the project to be moved off the bond’s priority list to accommodate other, more pressing needs in the district. At one point, the district even sought to find a community partner to help fund the aquatic center, but had no takers.

Oakdale Joint Unified School District Assistant Superintendent for Business Tim Hern said that it was somewhat fitting that two-thirds of the cost of the pool is being covered by project savings from the Sierra View Elementary School project, which was the first project item on the 2002 bond. The rest of the project is being paid for by developer fees.

“For me, it’s a milestone,” Hern said, adding that he was fairly new on the job when the bond was passed and joking that he wondered what he’d gotten himself into.

Board of Trustees President Mike Tozzi talked about the “pushy” people who made the dream of the aquatic center come true.

“Dreams plus dreams equal dreams,” Tozzi said. “And dreams plus action equal success.”

Superintendent Fred Rich noted that this project was always in the forefront of board decisions and that it was visionary leadership, “stick-to-it-iveness,” and efforts of the bond committee that made it happen.

“We had a group, that in the face of tremendous adversity, kept a promise,” Rich said.

The pool will have a surface area of 8,686 square feet, 14 swim lanes, a maximum depth of seven feet, it will hold 433,932 gallons of water, it is 111 feet long by 75 feet (25 yards) wide, feature a Colorado timing system with touch pads and information board, there will be two 25-yard practice areas, it can accommodate water polo and swim practice simultaneously, a beginning swim area with stairs and an ADA lift for P.E., and more.

The building will serve both the pool and stadium facilities, it will house changing rooms, showers, an equipment room, rest rooms for the pool and stadium, a stadium store, and more.

The aquatic center will be located north of the football stadium, east of the main gym, and south of the old gym on the OHS campus in an area that previously included an asphalt courtyard area.

The aquatic center is planned to be completed in the Fall of 2010. Hern said that depending on the winter and rain delays, the pool may be open and ready when the water polo season starts in September.

The Aquatic Center was designed by Oakdale resident Gary Gery of WWTOC and Kenneth Moeller of Arch Pac.