Summer swim program may sink

Closure of shallow pool at San Benito High School imperils city's swim program

The Hollister Recreation Department's summer swim programs will be "placed on hold or canceled" while San Benito High School works to repair the pools that are nearly 40 years old.

At this week's Hollister City Council meeting, City Manager William Avera said that the city was still looking into whether the deep pool could be used for the annual summer swimming offerings, but SBHS Superintendent John Perales on Friday said the entire program may not occur because of safety issues because of the pools' condition.

"Given that our pools were constructed in 1968 and 1976, they are showing their age," Perales posted on his Facebook page. "We are struggling with a plaster issue which causes the plaster to come loose and expose sharp edges — thus making them unsafe to use." Perales said the district is exploring "several solutions" and anticipates the repair work to be done "as soon as possible."

Despite that, the city's recreation swim programs "will need to be placed on hold or canceled until we receive further information," Perales said. "We will do our absolute best to make sure they are back on-line by the fall."

Councilwoman Mickie Luna asked about the cost of the swim program, which Avera said has risen from $50 per hour to $65 for residents (and $70 for non-residents) in recent years — with an expected increase next year. Mayor Ignacio Velazquez asked Avera about the possibility of having the city's summer swim program at Rovella's Athletic Club, but Avera said the gym's owners probably don't "want to have competing interests there," referring to San Benito Aquatics, which uses the Rovella's pool.

Still, Velazquez asked Avera to check on that pool as an option.

Registration for the city's summer swim programs, which include a junior lifeguard camp, parent/tot lessons, and swim sessions for youth from 6 months to age 14, is scheduled for June 13 at the Hollister Community Center, 300 West St., though that is now up in the air. For more information on the city's swim program, click here.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.