When the Berkeley High warm pool closed permanently last month, several Patch readers asked if Albany's could fill the gap.
Berkeley's pool, kept at a cozy temperature of about 92 degrees, was home to a variety of therapeutic programs.
Warm water exercise can be helpful for people with disabilities, certain medical conditions or injuries. Some seniors and children also prefer warmer temps.
Berkeley's warm pool, operated by the city, was the largest in the near-area. The Berkeley YMCA runs a smaller warm pool, and there are 92-degree pools in San Jose, Palo Alto, Fremont, Newark, Livermore and Dublin.
The language of Measure E, the bond to fund , specifically mentions therapeutic use.
Among rumors are flying about what Albany's new aquatic center will offer, including the suitability of the indoor pool for theraputics.
We asked Pool Director Amanda Garcia for clarification. Coincidentally, Garcia had just finished preparing a report on the indoor pool temperature, attached to this story as a PDF.
In short: Garcia is planning to heat the indoor pool to a temperature of 83 to 85 degrees F, which isn’t as warm as the Berkeley pool, but is acceptable for therapeutic use, she said.
In her report, Garcia explains that one of the reasons for choosing this temperaure is the added operating cost of heating higher. The range will also be suitable for many needs, she said.
By comparison, the larger outdoor pool will be kept at about 78 to 80 degrees, as desired by swim teams and lap swimmers, said Garcia.
She said she consulted a variety of experts for advice on both pool temperatures, including the physical therapy services that regularly rented Albany's old pool for classes—a use that will continue when the new center opens.
The school district’s goal, Garcia said, is for the indoor pool to house a variety of community programs, from water aerobics to physical therapy classes, and swim lessons to party rentals.
The district will charge fees for these programs. “The pool that’s going to generate most of our revenue is the indoor pool.”
The large pool, by comparison, is designated for school swim teams and water polo, lap swim, possibly a master’s swimming program, as well as community recreation, Garcia said. Community, versus school, uses will also be fee-based.
Programs at both pools will evolve with needs and demands, she said.
Sensitive to the need for the aquatic center to generate operating revenue quickly, Garcia said her aim is to keep both pools busy. “I’m going to try my best to have programs going on all day long.”
This will require the cost of full staffing, she said, but robust programming will generate the most income.
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