The Venice High School pool, which has been closed since September 29th due to leak repairs, is expected to reopen on Monday, January 19th.
The year-round pool at 2490 Walgrove Ave. in Mar Vista, owned by the City of Los Angeles, has been closed for over three months.
“The repairs are completed,” said Sophie Sabbah, a teacher at Venice High School and coach of the swim and water polo teams there. “We’re just waiting for the pool lights and the ladders and to fill the pool up [with water].”
And Sabbah said she couldn’t be more excited about the pool reopening.
“I’m just so happy,” she said. “I’m very thankful that they worked so fast to get the repairs done, but also for the community involvement. They helped so much in getting the pool reopened.”
Lydia Ponce, a parent of a Venice High School swimmer and a community leader for People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), is also thrilled about the pool reopening.
Ponce and others were concerned that the pool was going to be “shut down altogether because of the economic stress on the state and city — that there weren’t enough funds to fix this pool with all its problems,” she said.
Of the pool reopening, Ponce adds, “I just see it as being an all-around win for the community to have the pool open. It gets a lot of community use. Everyone from babies to seniors uses the pool.”
The Venice pool is used for various programs, including a novice swim and synchronized swim team, lifeguard training programs, a special needs program, water safety instructor courses, swim lessons and water exercise and fitness programs for many in the local community.
The pool was built in 1961 as part of a joint-use agreement between the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
It has operated for 47 years, which is 17 years beyond its estimated life expectancy, said City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks officials.
In 2006, the Department of Recreation and Parks issued a condition report for all of its aquatic facilities citywide.
“The Venice High School pool inspection found that the existing galvanized steel pipes, drainage systems, pool deck and other critical components of the pool were failing,” said Recreation and Parks officials. “In recent days, the pool piping has shown its age and has begun leaking.”
Then, in July last year, the city and the school district inspected the pool to determine if additional short-term improvements could be made to extend the school and public use of the facility.
The testing, as well as repairs, was estimated to take three to four months, which is why the pool temporarily closed in September.
In the meantime, Venice High School students on the swim and water polo teams have been using the Westwood Swimming Pool.
Currently, water polo team members are bussed weekdays at the beginning of lunch to the Westwood Swimming Pool and returned at about 4:45 p.m., Sabbah said.
Sabbah noted that bussing students to the Westwood pool “cuts into the time for the kids’ homework and other activities and family time,” so she and others are relieved that the Venice pool will reopen shortly.
The repairs to the Venice pool are basically a “five-year Band-Aid, so to speak,” Sabbah notes.
Currently, the city is in talks with the community about building a new pool to replace the Venice High School pool in several years.
“Within five years, the city wants to build a new pool,” Sabbah said.
Talks are only in the beginning stages.
“With the budget cuts and all that, who knows what’s going to happen,” Sabbah noted.