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March 19, 2024

Laguna Beach Unified School District awards design contracts for early learning classrooms and Laguna Beach High School pool

Laguna Beach, Calif. — During its March 14 meeting, the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Board of Education awarded contracts for design services for the modernization of the Laguna Beach High School pool and classroom upgrades at El Morro and Top of the World Elementary School, projects identified in the district’s Ten-Year Facilities Master Plan (FMP).

The classroom upgrades will support the state-mandated expansion of the Universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program, which requires public school districts to make TK available to all four-year-old children by the 2025-2026 school year. El Morro Elementary School will also host the Laguna Beach Preschool program, slated to open in the fall of 2024. This program is designed to teach developmental and pre-academic school readiness skills necessary for a successful transition to elementary education. The preschool will offer inclusion opportunities for a diverse group of early learners from various backgrounds and capabilities, including students with special education needs.  

Due to the need for significant repairs, the LBHS Community Pool has been a designated capital improvement project since 2015 and is one of the last projects awaiting completion. The Laguna Beach City Council's unanimous decision to pursue an independent path for a community pool ends a longstanding partnership that has provided aquatic recreational opportunities to the community for more than 30 years. Given the City Council’s recent decision, the design will no longer incorporate shared-use considerations.

Since 2023, discussions between the district and the city have been crucial in shaping the future of the community pool. In joint subcommittee meetings held between 2023 and early 2024, the two parties explored design possibilities, operational needs, and financial planning. For LBUSD, operational needs included additional deep-water lanes for aquatic programs. For the city, staff identified an increase in shallow water lanes as a non-negotiable requirement. 

“For more than three decades, the joint use agreement for the LBHS Community Pool has benefited not only our students but Laguna Beach residents at large. Given our city's unique constraints, with limited opportunities for new construction, the Board has always prioritized the continuation of this longstanding collaboration,” said LBUSD Board of Education President Jan Vickers. “We recognize the invaluable recreational opportunities our facilities offer and are excited to begin the design process for these projects to ensure they serve the diverse needs of our students, as part of providing a comprehensive school experience,” she concluded.

As the district initiates the design process for the new pool in the coming weeks, it will consider factors such as the ability to host home games, enhance spectator seating, add more deep-water lanes, incorporate sustainability features, and ensure code compliance. Additionally, the process will explore strategies to mitigate light and glare, as well as reduce construction and operational noise, alongside addressing traffic impacts to ensure minimal disruption to the surrounding community. The goal is to create a premier facility that supports simultaneous team practices, reduces overcrowding, and accommodates various LBHS programs. Based on the current project schedule, staff anticipate being able to publicly bid the project and award construction contracts by the end of 2025.

The district aims to minimize the downtime of the pool and has adopted a "summer sprint" model for its construction. Project timelines indicate that the pool will undergo construction for six months, from March to August 2026, with the pool support buildings slated for completion by late 2026. 

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