FUSD Board of Education approves replacement pool at MSJ


Ayush Patel

Over 50 students and parents from Mission San Jose attended the Board meeting in support for a replacement pool at Mission San Jose.

Ayush Patel, Editor-in-Chief

On Dec. 13, the Fremont Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the construction of a new replacement pool at Mission San Jose, which would also accommodate for consistent practices for all high schools in district. The pool will include 11 swimming lanes along with new restrooms and showers. The project for a new pool began in 2014, when Fremont voters approved the 650 million dollar obligation for Measure E funding under the School Facilities Local Vote Act, in which the district is approved to make repairs and upgrades to classrooms, facilities, and other equipment.

In September of 2015, the Board approved the design for a replacement pool, but did not approve funding. Instead, they requested their staff to find funding sources for the replacement pool, and later that month, the board approved a 3.1 million dollar project to replace the pool. The total costs of the replacement is around 4 million dollars as the replacement also includes original funding from Measure E. However, an update in October forced the Board to increase the total budget for swimming pool to 8.1 million dollars. The Board then asked staff to evaluate three options.

“The first option was to replace Mission San Jose’s pool, and have Mission and Irvington students share it,” Athletics Director Michelle Stone said. “The second was to repair Mission’s pool. The third was to replace Irvington’s pool, and have both schools share it.”

However, due to several factors such as the added 2-3 years of escalation costs, the Irvington pool costs 9.45 million dollars compared to Mission’s 8.1 million dollars.

“With a tight budget, it was expected for the Board to approve the Pool for Mission San Jose,” Ms. Stone said. “Behind the curtains, the Board knew what they were going to vote for. It’s a bummer that Irvington didn’t get the pool, but it also means that we won’t need to manage the conditions of the new, large pool while also allowing for our players to use it free of charge.”

ASB Vice President Jasmine Tong-Seely (11) said that an Irvington pool would not fit in with the district’s agenda to work within their budget.

“If Irvington got the pool, there’d be no travel time on the part of the players and their parents,” Tong-Seely said, “but relative to the difference of 1.35 million dollars, it doesn’t seem to outweigh the costs. There doesn’t seem to be a strong argument for Irvington to get the pool.”

The current conditions of the Irvington pool create several issues for swim and water polo athletes.

“Like any other pool at the district, ours is pretty old and shallow,” Varsity swim member Beatriz Mendoza (12) said. “It’s gets overcrowded, and the lanes are too narrow. You can hit your foot and ankle against the concrete side. Teaching new swimmers how to dive in a shallow pool is a liability. You don’t want to wait for someone to get hurt to change something.”

Ms. Stone voiced that the Board made the right decision in regards to protecting its own reputation. She also added that the decision to make the pool at Mission, and not at Irvington, is something the Irvington community should not focus on.

“This wasn’t a fight between Mission San Jose and Irvington as it had appeared to be at the meeting,” Ms. Stone said. “The other side cried for a new pool, but I wanted Irvington to emphasize for a pool and to respect the Board’s decision. Ultimately, we’re grateful in the decision that the Board made for students at FUSD.”

Furthermore, Ms. Stone said that she intentionally avoided having too many Irvington representatives come to the meeting out of respect to the school Board’s time.

“We knew what they were going to vote for, especially when considering the tight budget right now,” Ms. Stone said. “We want to leave a good impression on the board without appearing too needy so we can get approval for future projects.”

Although Irvington was not able to secure a new pool, Ms. Stone said that we should expect future projects for other sports.

“Right now, the boys’ lockers are some of the worst in the district so that’s something I may bring up in a future agenda,” Ms. Stone said. “We’re also focusing on creating new track fields in the future, but to get approval for these projects, we need the respect of the School Board.”