Construction of new aquatic center at Estancia High to begin this summer

Plans to build a stainless-steel Olympic-size pool and a support building at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa will move forward this summer.

The $7-million aquatic center approved last year by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District will add a Myrtha pool 50 meters long (about 54 yards) on the school’s blacktop to replace three basketball courts.

The new support building will have offices, restrooms, showers, bleacher space and two storage rooms, said Ara Zareczny, district director of facilities development, planning and design. Four 80-foot light poles also will be added.

Bidding for the project will begin in July, with construction slated to start in mid-August, said Zareczny, who led a meeting Monday night explaining details of the project and gathering input from parents who attended. The aquatic center is expected to be ready for the 2018-19 school year.

Estancia athletes will use other schools’ pools during construction, Zareczny said.

Estancia’s existing L-shaped pool, which is 25 yards long on one side and about 27 yards on the other, is wedged between the small and large gyms. It will be filled in and replaced with an outdoor courtyard, per the school’s request, Zareczny said.

Parents asked during Monday’s hour-long meeting why a snack bar wasn’t included in the plans.

“So we’re going to keep dragging out tables for a snack bar?” PTA President Hydee Beth asked. “We’re putting in all this work, so might as well go all the way.”

Newport-Mesa board Vice President Vicki Snell advised parents to address the board about possible additions when the aquatic center is on the agenda for updates.

“Say, ‘If you want a successful swim program, you’ll have to sell food onsite,’ ” Snell said. “Say, ‘We’re not asking for a kitchen but for a transaction window and electricity.’ ”

Unlike other district projects — such as a proposed sports field at Corona del Mar High School that could include expanded seating, lights, synthetic turf, restrooms, concessions and a public address system — the aquatic center will not require an extensive environmental report because a pool already exists, Zareczyn said.

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