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San Diego Unified, YMCA Want To Put Swimming Pools At Schools

Photo by Julie Kertesz/flickr.com

A young girl jumps into a swimming pool.

The San Diego Unified board of education and the YMCA are one step closer to a joint venture to put swimming pools on several district campuses. The idea grew out of a joint-use deal with Pacific Beach Middle School.

Since 2009, the Pacific Beach school and the YMCA have been working to turn a gravel multi-purpose yard at the school into an aquatics center. The plan is to have the district pay for the construction of a new athletics field and parking, and to have the YMCA pay for the construction and maintenance of a new aquatics and community center.

After talks began on the Pacific Beach effort, officials with the district and YMCA found a common need, and the “Pools for Schools” program was born.

Vince Glorioso, executive director of the Peninsula Family YMCA, told school trustees this week that a significant number of children in the Point Loma area aren’t learning to swim.

“We’ve identified that 35 percent of those students either can't swim or are beginning swimmers, and these are eighth-graders who live at the beach,” Glorioso said.

To help solve this, the district has begun an effort to make pools and aquatics education available to all students in the district. The San Diego Unified School District board unanimously passed this week a memorandum of understanding with the YMCA to build swimming pools, athletic facilities and community centers at several of the district's school clusters.

School clusters” are how the district organizes its schools. For example, there’s a Lincoln cluster that has 20 schools from elementary to high school, including Lincoln High School, Valencia Park Elementary and Millennial Tech.

YMCA officials said many of the district’s clusters are underserved when it comes to swimming pool access.

Corey McClelland, president and CEO of the junior lifeguard foundation, told the school board that building pools will save lives.

Pacific Beach Middle School won't be breaking ground anytime soon. The deal still needs approval from the state Board of Education, and that's not going to happen until spring.

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