City, LAUSD discuss potential pool project

File photo

City and school district officials are talking about McGaugh Elementary as a possible site for a long-proposed community swimming pool.

“The City’s discussions with the LAUSD are still in the preliminary stages and we will be having further talks to determine if the McGaugh site is suitable for swimming pool improvements,” wrote Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos in a recent email. 

The pool project has been going on for some time. Here’s a summary of what we know.

• In 2008, a consultant advised the Seal Beach City Council that the best thing to do was build a replacement for the McGaugh swimming pool. I saved a copy of the report to my computer the week, possibly the night, the City Council discussed the report. (I’m a packrat.) It’s still on my desktop. (Who knew a report would still be useful after so many years?)  

• In 2008, the consultant estimated a 50-foot pool would cost $4,166,500. A 30-foot pool: $4,166,500. (From page 20 of that 2008 report.)

• According to the proposed 2021-22 Seal Beach budget, the balance for the pool project fund is currently $4,548,048. (The money was dedicated for the project years ago.) 

• The community pool project is currently on hold while staff takes another look at the original McGaugh pool site.

• Last year, the estimated cost of a swimming pool to be built on the grounds of the Naval Weapons Station was more than $22 million. (Context: That’s roughly a third of the 2021-22 city budget.)

• More than one city officials has said that Seal Beach doesn’t have the money to build a swimming pool on the grounds of the Navy base.

• In March 2021, city staff put the combined costs of leasing the land and maintaining the proposed pool were put at more than $2 million a year.

• The city can only borrow so much money, and it needs to be able to pay the debt.

• Early last year, there was strong support for a new pool on the Navy base. I have seen no evidence that support has changed.

• Construction costs have increased since the pandemic began. (That could change.)

• The current cost of building a new pool at McGaugh is not yet known. During a May 2021 budgeet workshop focused on city projects, Public Works Director Steve Myrter told the council that Seal Beach would need to do a new feasibility to see if the current facility can be used.

• A pool project at McGaugh would have to be approved by the California Coastal Commission.

• According to the California Department of Education, school construction also comes under the supervision of the the School Facility Planning Division of CalEd, and the Division of the State Architect of the Department of General Services.

• If state funds are used for school construction, the Department of General Services Office of Public School Construction administers the bond funds, according to the Department of Education. 


If you think the city should continue with the pool project, email your support for the project to council members and the city manager. 

If you think the city should discontinue the pool project, email your opposition for the project to council members and the city manager.

In either case, please email copies of your messages to the Sun and put “please run as a Letter to the Editor” in the subject line. 

Contact information for city officials:

• City Manager Jill Ingram

• District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick 

(Old Town and Surfside Colony)

• District Two Councilman Thomas Moore 

 (Leisure World, College Park West and Rossmoor Center)

• District Three Councilman Mike Varipapa 

(Hill, Coves, Bridgeport and Heron Pointe)

• District Four Councilwoman Schelly Sustarsic 

(College Park East and Town Center)

• District Five Councilwoman Sandra Massa-Lavitt

(Leisure World)

Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun Newspapers. Email him at, and CC the message to

City, LAUSD discuss potential pool project