Calipatria working to help kids keep cool

June 24, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

CALIPATRIA — While plans are in the works to build a new high school swimming pool here that would also serve the public, kids here still are left without a public pool for the summer.

Now, school and city officials are looking to make sure at least a busload of children each day have a chance to swim.

As early as Tuesday, the Calipatria Unified School District could begin busing youth to Brawley for a few hours each day.


Particulars of how the district would schedule the bus rides were still being developed this morning and were unavailable by presstime.

Calipatria Superintendent James Hanks said one possibility is to take the younger kids to Brawley as part of their summer school program so a teacher could be present. Older kids could be driven to Brawley after summer school.

Hanks said the district will use federal grant funding typically used for tutoring and after-school recreation programs to cover the costs of the bus trips.

District officials said more information on the bus schedule would become available as soon as the schedule is finalized.

The Calipatria High swimming pools were closed in May by the county environmental health services division.

The agency said the district's pools were being operated in violation of state laws on public pool maintenance. The problems included rusted filters, decks surrounding the pools that were chipping off into the pools and an outdated chlorination system that couldn't adequately serve the pools based on their use, in particular during the summer.

School officials have said they understand the pools were in need of repair.

They also have said it could prove even more costly to try to renovate the two pools, so the school board made the decision to look into the costs associated with building new pool facilities.

During the board's July meeting it will be given a report with cost estimates for building a new facility in front of the high school along Main Street as part of a new parking area.

The idea, school officials have said, is to build a pool that would be more accessible to the public.

While work could move quickly and a new pool built before summer 2004, school and city officials are concerned about not having a pool available for kids this summer.

Calipatria City Manager Romualdo Medina said he has been in contact with Brawley city staffers about busing Calipatria kids to the Brawley pool.

Brawley Parks and Recreation Director Karin Morgan said this morning the pool is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and she said during those hours it is no problem to have kids brought in from Calipatria.

However, she said she has not received official word from Calipatria officials on their plans. She said if they are planning to bring more than one busload of youth, she might need to increase the number of lifeguards at the pool.

Medina said he expects about 25 kids to be bused on any given day.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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