Lake Oswego School District swimming facility is slated for replacement on the May 16 bond

REVIEW FILE PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Workers lay down a coat of sealant on the Lake Oswego School District pool's concrete flooring during a maintenance blitz in the summer of 2014. From left: Phil Williams, Tom Williams, Phil Oppen and Josh WilliamsJohn Moyes, Doug Adams and Tom Coffey are regular swimmers at the Lake Oswego School District pool.

Adams, who lived in Lake Oswego for 30 years, now lives in Wilsonville. But he, Moyes and Coffey all had children who participated in high school swimming or water polo programs.

"What's unique about swimming is that this sport could save your life, and you could save somebody else's life," Adams says. "Your ability to manage yourself in the water could be a life-and-death kind thing because (depending on the circumstances) if you knew how to swim, you could survive and you could help somebody else. And that's why I think it's important to have a pool as an asset in the community."

Adams, the senior pastor at Community of Hope in Wilsonville, says it's also critical for young and not-so-young swimmers to have a community pool that they can use. Coffey, a Lake Oswego resident, agrees that access to a swimming pool matters for all age groups.

"For a vibrant community, not only for the kids but for adults as well, I think a swimming pool's really important because there's not a lot of sports people can do when they get much older," Coffey says. "Swimming is one of the things they can continue on and do."

"As you can see," says Moyes, gesturing at himself and his friends.

"So I would say we need a pool," Coffey adds.

But the school district's existing pool, which is located on the Lake Oswego High School campus, has a lot of problems. Despite investments in the facility, there are signs of severe wear and tear to the ventilation and water filtration systems and to the structure of the building.

According to a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) commissioned by the district in 2015, the current pool needs $2.98 million in repairs. It would cost at least $4.64 million to replace, not counting soft costs such as design and personnel.

Carolyn Heymann, a U.S. Swim coach who offers lessons at the pool, says repairs are certainly important if the facility is going to continue to serve as a community hub for people like Moyes, Adams, Coffey and their children. The eight-lane, 25-yard pool is often crowded, with about 200-250 visitors on a week day and 100-150 on a weekend.REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - David Holmes, then a junior, takes a deep breath at practice before plunging below the surface during a Lake Oswego High School swim team session in December 2015.

The indoor facility serves as one of the few places in the area to practice and compete for both high schools' swim and water polo teams. Local law enforcement dive teams use the pool to train, and the building is also frequented by the Lake Oswego Swim Club (LOSC), Lake Oswego Water Polo Organization (LOWPO) and even West Linn High School, which holds home meets at the LOSD facility.

But what the district really needs, Heymann says, is a new pool.

"If we were to get a new facility, we'd be able to build that facility to house all the teams that need practice time and build it to the current industry standards for ventilation and water filtration and to seismic safety standards," Heymann says.

The Lake Oswego School Board apparently agrees.

Last fall, board members approved placing a $187 million bond — Measure 3-515 — on the May 16 ballot that includes $7 million to replace the pool. The bond would also provide $61.4 million for deferred maintenance and seismic upgrades at nine district schools.

To give the community an up-close look at maintenance issues in advance of the May election, the School Board has been hosting tours of all 10 local schools and the pool this winter and spring; tours also were held this past summer. Tours of Forest Hills, Lake Grove, Oak Creek, River Grove and Westridge elementary schools, Lake Oswego Junior High and Lakeridge High School were held earlier this year.

On Monday, April 10, the School Board will offer a tour of the swimming pool; it's scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. The next tour will be of Hallinan Elementary School from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13.

To complement the tours, The Review has been releasing videos that highlight some of the maintenance issues at each school. This week's video of the LOSD pool is available now at

Problems and upgrades

Why replace the pool instead of repairing it?

Built in 1971, the pool has millions of dollars in deferred maintenance issues hanging over it, with problems such as structural instability and other issues as plain as the holes dotting the walls, rusted metal doors and tile flooring.

The facility is in "critical" condition, according to the FCA report — the worst rating on a "good" to "critical" scale. That means that it would cost at least half as much to repair the pool as to replace it.REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The pool's repair needs include visible issues such as holes in the walls, ceilings and rusty metal doors.

About 10 percent of the building's support columns have undermined foundations that need to be repaired, according to the FCA report. Among other issues noted in the assessment: "sagging and twisted wood beams," "lack of lateral support at building side" and "fall-prone equipment."

In addition to deferred maintenance, the pool has also had more immediate repair concerns, with at least two problems that closed the pool last year alone.SUBMITTED PHOTO - Heavy snow and ice on the roof damaged four ceiling beams at the district pool last school year. It closed the pool for almost a month.

Four of those "sagging and twisted" ceiling beams cracked under the weight of snow and ice on the roof, shuttering the pool for almost a month in 2016 while repairs were done. And the pool closed for a day in October 2016 because staff had trouble regulating the pH balance of the water, according to school district announcements last year.

But even if the pool building were built to perfection, it is still 46 years old.

"You can't expect that facility to last indefinitely," Aukai Ferguson, LOWPO administrative head coach, told The Review last year.

The district and community have tried to make the pool last, investing thousands of dollars over the years in repairs and upgrades. In June 2016, for example, the School Board approved allowing the Lake Oswego Swim Club to spend $46,000 to install an ultraviolet water treatment system, which was added this summer.

The club also raised enough funding to provide $2,500 annually for a maintenance service agreement. (Board policy requires that the board approve expenditures of more than $5,000, including donations.) The district has invested thousands of dollars in repairs as well.REVIEW FILE PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Phil Williams and Tom Williams were among several people working on major upgrades at the Lake Oswego School District pool back in the summer of 2014. 6-The ventilation system is a little archaic, says U.S. swim coach Carolyn Heymann, and Heymann says this photo indicates just how humid the air gets.

Health and safety concerns spurred a summer of maintenance and upgrades at the pool in 2014. Former LOSD Director of Facilities Rob Dreier said at the time that a visit from Clackamas County health inspectors inspired the district to shut down the pool for more than just a cleaning; several upgrades, which cost about $165,500 at the time, were intended to improve air quality, make flooring less treacherous and eradicate some mildew.

Still, Heymann points out that there are a host of lingering issues. For example, the ventilation system is still not adequate, she says; it gets so hot and humid inside the pool building that the windows mist up during practices and other events.

Other continuing problems go even deeper. The pool originally had a springboard for diving, Heymann says, which is why it was built with an 11-foot diving well. But the district has not "had a diving program or team for years, and the district removed the board to preserve the deck space."

"From a sustainability point, it makes little sense to keep heating so many gallons of water," she says. "From a maintenance aspect, the annual draining, refilling and reheating of those gallons is also a waste."

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The ventilation system is a little archaic, says U.S. swim coach Carolyn Heymann, and Heymann says this photo indicates just how humid the air gets.

Background on the bond

Measure 3-515 encompasses more than the replacement of the swimming pool and deferred maintenance for school buildings. It also includes:

— $82.3 million for the replacement of Lakeridge Junior High, which has gradually widening cracks in its foundation and walls;

— $16.2 million for improvements to security, safety and technology;

— $5.3 million for the creation of science, technology, engineering, art and math centers;

— $5.9 million for the addition of maker spaces/multipurpose rooms at elementary schools; and

— $9 million for other costs, such as relocating students during construction.

Measure 3-515 would carry a tax rate of $1.25 per $1,000 assessed property value. The bond would establish a tax of $425 per year for a home with an assessed value of $340,000, the median in the school district, according to Clackamas County. Assessed value is about two-thirds of a typical home's real market value.

The bond is actually part of a 25-year proposed framework for improving district buildings, which includes three proposed phases.

Depending on the decision of future School Boards and voter approval, the $200 million Phase Two potentially slated for the ballot in 2021 includes replacing Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary School. In 2025, locals could vote on the $150 million Phase Three, which includes raising new buildings for Forest Hills and Lake Grove elementary schools. Phase Three would be a renewal of the bond voters passed in 2000 to rebuild LOHS and renovate Lakeridge High School. Future phases are preliminary and subject to change.

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Every in-person tour of the LOSD's 10 schools will be held from 6-7:30 p.m.:

— River Grove Elementary's tour was held on Jan. 19;

— Forest Hills Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 9;

— Oak Creek Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 16;

— Lake Grove Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 23;

— Westridge Elementary's tour was held on March 2;

— Lake Oswego Junior High's tour was held on March 16;

— Lakeridge High's tour was held on March 23;

— LOSD pool on the Lake Oswego High campus, 2501 Country Club Road, on Monday, April 10;

— Hallinan Elementary: 16800 Hawthorne Drive, Thursday, April 13;

— Lakeridge Junior High: 4700 Jean Road, Thursday, April 20;

— Lake Oswego High School: 2501 Country Club Road, Thursday, April 27.

VIEW IT: The Review has been releasing a series of videos in conjunction with the in-person tours:

— River Grove:

— Forest Hills:

— Oak Creek:

— Lake Grove:

— Westridge:

— LOJ:

— Lakeridge High:

— District pool:

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine