Pool closing disrupts sports

Girls’ water polo will not finish out their season in the pool, while swim team will not be able to use the pool at all for the duration of their season. On Feb. 1, the pool will be closing for reconstruction to replaster the pool and repair the deck.

Steve Lepire, NPHS principal, explains that the pool renovations have an estimated cost of about $1.3 million. The reconstruction is funded through Measure I, or money that each school receives for projects, repairs and modernization.

“The plan is to reopen early June, before the start of all the summer activities that take place for Conejo Parks and Recreation, so early June. So that’s why we have to shut the pool down now, in order to get all the work done,” Lepire said. “Even though it is obviously a major inconvenience on the swim team, we made arrangements for practice sites, all their meets are going to be off-campus, and the district is picking up the extra transportation cost for the extra swim meets that they have to travel to.” Conejo Parks and Recreation will pay for 25 percent of the cost.

Aside from the pool, basketball courts behind the pool will be closed off for contractors. Physical education teachers were also notified of the plans and prepared a replacement program for the swim unit.

“There’s going to be locker room work that’s done, but it won’t displace students, maybe for a day or so, but other than that not much,” Lepire said.

Since Advanced Placement testing usually takes place in the gym and GAR, their proximity to the construction site raised concerns.

“Anything that requires a lot of noise, the digging and stuff, will take place early enough that we don’t anticipate that being an issue, and we’ll give (the contractors) the time reference schedule of when we’re using the gym, so it won’t be an issue,” Lepire said.

Keith Brock, swim coach, was not informed of pool reconstruction prior to this fall. “I was surprised that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody that works in the whole aquatics area — P.E. teachers, water polo coaches, swim coaches, the pool man– was consulted on this project.”

However, to Brock’s knowledge, the Health Department has been citing the pools for 10 years. “For 10 years there have been a lot of issues with the pools that have not been addressed,” Brock said. Despite this, Brock still believes the job could have waited until this summer, after the swim team’s season.

Having to rearrange the swim season’s practice schedule makes Jacqui Pluckrose, senior and swim team co-captain, worried for the season ahead. Pluckrose received the news during the beginning of the year but still feels frustrated that she will not be able to finish her last swim season in her school pool.

“When I first heard about the (pool closing), I was pretty upset just because it’s our sports season, and we are not able to practice in our own pool. We will have to find somewhere else to practice,” Pluckrose said.

In addition to practicing with their individual club swim teams, swim members are obligated to practice three times out of the week at Thousand Oaks High School.  

  Pluckrose believes that the different swim schedule will affect the team dynamic as well as the performance of the team. “A lot of the team bonding is just being able to practice with each other,” Pluckrose said.

Girls’ water polo will be displaced for less than one week, having to adjust their home games and remaining practices to be off-campus. However, Bailey Stubblefield, junior and varsity water polo player, will miss the home-field advantage their pool provides.

“It’s nicer to be able to practice at your home, especially for games, having home games is nice too,” Stubblefield said.

The school plans to coordinate with parents to ensure all athletes make it to the practices.

“(The pool renovations are) displacing a lot of people, but in the grand scheme of things, in order to get it done in the best time with the least amount of time taken out, this was the best scenario,” Lepire said.

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