High school and city officials appear to be entering the final lap of negotiating a deal for rebuilding the pool at Burlingame High School, as both parties approved terms for replacing, repairing and operating the facility.

The Burlingame City Council approved terms of an agreement for the new pool Monday, May 20, following the San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees taking a similar action the week before.

The approved term sheet will be the foundation of a new contract which must ultimately be approved by both parties for the facility owned by the school district but used primarily by the Burlingame community.

Following extensive deliberations between both sides, Burlingame City Manager Lisa Goldman said she expects a lion’s share of the hard work is completed and the final agreement should come together with relative ease.

“I’m glad we are moving forward,” she said. “This has been a long time coming.”

Under terms of the agreement, the city will contribute $2.7 million to rebuilding the pool, $1.2 million of which will be paid this year and the rest will be paid after the city completes building its new community center, or 2023 — whichever comes first.

School officials shouldered the upfront costs associated with getting the roughly $6.6 million project started, in an effort to get plans approved and move toward construction as soon as possible.

The pool has been closed since last summer when maintenance workers discovered structural flaws so severe that officials elected to rebuild the center rather than attempt to temporarily fix it.

Assuming future hurdles do not delay the project, officials are hopeful work will continue through the summer with an eye on opening a new facility by the end of the year, or early next year.

Once operational, the school district and city will split evenly the maintenance and operations expenses. Following the first year of use, city and school officials will reconsider cost sharing expenses to determine a reasonable formula for addressing such costs in the future.

Under a previous agreement, the city was paying 78% of the operational and maintenance costs, since the community uses the facility when it is not occupied by student athletes.

Goldman said the previous contract which detailed cost sharing agreements and other issues can serve as the basis for crafting the next iteration. The document must pass muster with attorneys from both sides before ratification from the school board and City Council to complete the process.

Officials also intend to extend the terms of the agreement from 2026 to 2040. By 2035, either party may seek to leave the agreement, at which point they would need to reimburse the partner agency for remaining costs. Looking ahead, the two sides could collaborate on additional work to fix the locker rooms and pool house at the facility.

Considering the extensive discussions and investment required by either side to push the negotiation process to this point, Goldman said she expected any major sticking points would have been raised previously.

“I feel confident if there had been a problem, one or both bodies would have rejected the term sheet,” she said. “The items negotiated in the term sheet were the big items.”

With the assumption that they are out of the deep end on most of the difficult negotiations, Goldman praised the hard work required by both sides to land on terms of a deal suitable to both sides.

“I look forward to it being open,” she said.

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(1) comment

aball52

Congratulations good job! Pat yourselves on the back! Keep that long course pool going! the only long course in San Mateo County.No more packing up at 5 A.M. to drive to Santa Clara County Foothill for a one lane team rental workout.! totally awesome

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