City to hire pool project manager

Consultant to analyze refurbishing or replacing pool at McGaugh, state requirements

Seal Beach will hire a consultant to assess the McGaugh swimming pool site. “City staff will take a contract to Council for consideration for professional services for this project,” wrote Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos in a March 2 email.

The analysis is expected to look at the cost of either refurbishing or replacing the McGaugh swimming pool within the existing footprint and the city’s financial means.

While the two members of the city’s ad hoc pool committee agreed with the goal, they both expressed concern about over analyzing the project.

Earlier that day, staff gave a presentation on a proposal to hire a consultant to the Community Pool Project Ad Hoc Committee. The committee members are District Three Councilman Mike Varipapa and District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick.

The last assessment of the condition of the McGaugh pool was done in 2008. In May 2021, Public Works Director Steve Myrter said  a new feasibility study was needed for the site.

During last week’s meeting, Gallegos said the decision was made during the 2021 strategic planning meeting to determine the viability of the McGaugh site for either a new pool or a refurbished pool. (See “City officials to re-evaluate community pool project” at

Deputy Public Works Director/City Engineer Iris Lee said the intent was to bring on a project manager to conduct a feasibility study on the pool project.

According to Lee, some questions that need to be answered include:

• How much of the existing pool can be reused

• How much space does the city need for the pool and amenities

• If there were existing features that could be relocated.

• What would it cost

• What would the California Division of the State Architect require Seal Beach to do?

• What would the California Coastal Commission require?

Lee said the consultant/project manager would be asked to look at those questions before the city takes the next step.

“Do we have a need for a project manager to re–analyze whether this is the best location,” asked Kalmick.

“I thought from our previous, you know, round of examinations that this still is the only viable site,” Kalmick said.

“I think we rejected the Navy site for obvious reasons of cost and I didn’t think that there was any other place we’d be looking at,” Kalmick said.

Gallegos said at this time, the city’s focus was on the McGaugh site. “I think we need somebody to answer those questions,” Gallegos said.

According to Gallegos, the project would  have to accommodate the tennis courts and parking at the school site.

Kalmick asked if Los Alamitos Unified School District had made a fairly certain declaration that they are on board with the McGaugh site.

Gallegos said “declaration” was too strong a word, but he would say that the city has had some positive conversations with the LAUSD team.

According to Gallegos, the city meets with the school district team on a quarterly basis to discuss several projects, including the community pool project.

“I would say that the message we were receiving is very positive and I think they really want to work with us to see if we can get something done,” Gallegos said.

Councilman Varipapa supported hiring a project manager. “I like the idea of bringing in the project manager to do the analysis, but I don’t want to see it going into what we used to call analysis paralysis, meaning that we analyze it to death and it kind of goes nowhere and it costs us a bunch of money,” Varipapa said.

He said he looked forward to getting the analysis done as quickly as possible.

Varipapa said he hadn’t heard one negative thing about the project in the meetings he’s been in with the school district.

According to Lee, the proposed analysis would build on the investigation done during the 2008 assessment.

Lee said that with the proposed study, the city would come up with a few concept layouts. The city would present the best ones to the ad hoc committee and ultimately the City Council and the public.

Gallegos told the committee that staff was looking to get as close to the current footprint of the McGaugh site as possible.

Gallegos said the council has said in the past that a $20-plus million pool is probably not feasible for Seal Beach.

According to Gallegos, staff was trying to be considerate of the city’s financials as well as the desires of the community and the council.

Gallegos said at this time there was no funding available coming to the pool project.

According to Varipapa, funding for the pool project keeps decreasing.

Kalmick said he agreed with Varipapa that the analysis needs to be done sooner rather than later.