Town asked to pony up for pool

By: Laura O’Brien, Loomis News Correspondent
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Friends of the Del Oro Pool asked the Loomis Town Council for $250,000 to help build the new pool, but now the Town has to find the money.

In exchange for a possible donation, the Town would enter into an agreement with Placer Union High School District for joint use of the new Del Oro Aquatic Center.

“The money will be coming out of the town funds and we have to show that (residents) will get a benefit out of it,” Angelocci said in a later interview.

The Town’s donation would represent 10 percent of the $2.5 million price tag for phase one of the pool design. Grace Kamphefner, with Friends of the Del Oro Pool, said the group will solicit an identical donation from Placer County.

Angelocci said the Town’s support for the Aquatic Center would mean direct benefits, such as a proposed direct-cost rate for pool use, and indirect benefits like an increase in business to town merchants. He and Roger Carroll, town finance director, plan to come back to council before May with possible funding sources from the town budget.

At the March 12 council meeting, Angelocci announced the Town cancelled the summer swim program due to the Aquatic Center construction plans and Del Oro pool’s continued disrepair.

Construction could begin by the end of June, pending collection of pledged donations and approval of the new pool’s design by the Division of the State Architect. 

Kamphefner called the donation an investment.

“Granite Bay has two Olympic swimmers,” Kamphefner said. “I want the next one to come from Loomis.”

The pool group has collected $800,000 for the Aquatic Center to date, $500,000 of which represents the Kamphefner family’s commitment to match pool donations up to $1 million. Her son plays water polo for Del Oro.

Additional pledges include $75,000 from the Orchards at Penryn and $700,000 in other corporate donations, Kamphefner said.

Kamphefner’s group scaled the project back from a $5.3 million compound to a $2.5 million phase-one plan.

The current design incorporates prefabricated offices and bathrooms and an accessible lift instead of a ramp, said Casey Feickert, a civil engineer who swam for the Loomis Basin Dolphins and Del Oro swim teams. The pool will be built at grade instead of six feet below ground level.

Pending further funding, additional construction phases include a permanent building for offices, bathrooms and lockers and the planned therapy pool.

The Placer Union High School District has not raised the Del Oro pool rental rates in five years, said Doug Marquand, assistant superintendent for the school district. 

“I know that the Town of Loomis is grateful to have the premier high school in its backyard,” Marquand said. “And so that’s the investment that Grace is talking about.  We could invest in our infrastructure, our kids.”

Councilmember Miguel Ucovich pointed out that the new pool, seven-feet deep except for two lanes at four-feet deep, is designed for competition use, although recreation uses are possible.  He also said many pool users will be from outside the Town of Loomis.

Pat Brechtel and several others who spoke during public comment urged council to consider donating more than $250,000 to the pool.

“This is an important part of our community,” Brechtel said.  “Everybody in this town—in this room, I’m sure—has volunteered at one point in time.”

Del Oro Principal Dan Gayaldo said the pool needs to be closed and drained during spring break for repair.

“We just can’t continue with the pool that we have and we hope that you can continue your support, so we can put this plan in effect,” Gayaldo said.