QUESTION: Does the school and Tuolumne County Recreation Department (or any other entity) have plans to make the new pool open for the public at times other than summer community swim? There had been a lot of discussion about this earlier on — as this pool is the only public pool in the county appropriate for year-round use, and it might provide an additional revenue source to assist with maintenance. It is very common, statewide, for high school swimming pools to be open for public lap swimming at 5:30 a.m. and in the evenings when the school isn't using it. I heard a rumor that Columbia College was going to offer a swimming class, but haven't seen anything about it. I was a huge pool supporter, but I do have to admit that I am a bit disappointed to see no efforts in this direction. I am willing to personally get involved, but I'm not even sure where to start.

ANSWER: The Sonora Union High School District Board talked about public access to the pool at its meeting earlier this month and the answer was basically stay tuned. Superintendent Pat Chabot said he had discussed public use with the Recreation Department supervisor, but terms had not been hashed out.

In an email to the Miner, he said he would like to see the department use the pool on the weekends, but weekday morning open swim is more difficult. The water polo team used the pool before and after school in the fall, and the swim team uses it morning and afternoon now.

“We are looking at pool costs this year so that we can develop a rental price that covers the cost of the pool so community members can rent out the pool,” he said. “They would also need to provide lifeguards and insurance.”

Chabot said on Thursday that he was still working on getting another meeting with the Recreation Department, which is planning to offer community swim programs this summer.

“In fact, they plan on offering more activities than they have in the past because it is a larger pool and more activities can occur at the same time,” he said.

What he’s recently been working on is finding an organization that can offer a swim program in the evenings or weekends before and after summer.

Chabot said Columbia College decided not to run a swim class at the Sonora pool.

Memorial Pool, decommissioned last April and filled in with dirt recently, was leased to the Recreation Department last summer for $15,000.

QUESTION: Based on the information contained in Sonora High School’s frequently asked questions on the plans for the swimming pool project, “With improved heating and locker room facilities, the pool will be used year round” — why is the Sonora High School water polo team having their practices at the Sonora Sports and Fitness Center and not at the new $6 million aquatics center?

ANSWER: Chabot said water polo is a fall sport and the team practiced at the new high school pool.

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