A project that was first conceived nearly a decade ago, the swimming pool being added to Glendale High School’s campus is just about ready to launch.
Pending approval from health inspectors, the pool is expected to be filled with water soon, after which the necessary sanitizing chemicals will be mixed and added to prepare it for use. The Glendale Unified School District anticipates that GHS’ swimming and water polo teams will be able to use it for workouts this spring.
“We’re getting close to wrapping it up,” said Hagop Kassabian, the GUSD administrator for planning, development and facilities. “All in all, I think we’re looking pretty good to have water in the pool by late February or early March.”
It hasn’t been the simplest process for the GUSD or GHS. The district board first approved the project in November 2012, after which KPI Architects began designing an Olympic-size 50-meter pool that would have been shared by GHS with Hoover and Crescenta Valley high schools.
David Kindred, owner of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, firm, died in August 2014, however, spelling an end to that contract. Newport Beach-based tBP/Architecture replaced KPI in December 2015, with the district ultimately reenvisioning a smaller pool for athletic use by GHS alone.
The Division of the State Architect finally approved that project — a 34-meter by 25-yard pool — in March 2019, and the construction contract was awarded to Balfour Beatty in July 2019. Work broke ground in October 2019.
Design work and construction are expected to total around $16.7 million.
The district elected to construct a Myrtha pool, which involves stainless steel pieces that are assembled together and then covered with a heat-applied lining before the ground around it is filled back in. Kassabian said the nature of the construction makes the pool simpler to maintain and repair, as opposed to pools constructed through the pouring and spreading of concrete over a rebar structure.
“It’s a lot easier to maintain,” he said. “Ultimately, the initial cost might be a little higher, but the long-term benefits when it comes to savings and maintenance are a lot better than your typical pool.”
Kassabian added that the construction timeline was affected by the initial outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic because much of the material for the pool came from Italy. Prior to hitting the United States, the virus had ravaged Italy and forced a near-total shutdown of the nation.
“We’re doing really well, given the COVID impact,” he said. “We were supposed to get this product in March, but that’s when Italy shut everything down in the country, and that delayed us a couple of months. I think it was sometime in June that we did get it.”
The replacement pool will be the latest amenity for GHS’ athletic complex, which includes the historic football field, tennis courts and baseball and softball diamonds.
“That entire area is going to have a really nice athletic-facility feel,” Kassabian said.
Vivian Ekchian, superintendent of the GUSD, said the completion of the long-awaited pool will help the district fortify its relationship with the Glendale community. In addition to use by GHS students, residents will also be able to use the facility for recreation.
“I’ve been really excited about having an aquatics center at GHS and I think the students and the community will benefit from it for decades to come,” she said. “Every step we take, we try to think about not just our students but also the health and wellness of our community. It’s about lifting the health and wellness of them, too, not just for our students.”