City, Schools to Team up on Swim Center

If all goes as planned, Alameda swimmers could welcome the year 2024 with a sparkling new place to swim. The city and the Alameda Unified School District recently signed an agreement to build a $12 million swim center. The new facility would open either on the site of the Emma Hood Swim Center at Alameda Avenue and Oak Street or on the site of Thompson Field at Clement Avenue and Walnut Street.

The new center would open as early as January 2024 if the city and school district choose the Emma Hood site. However, if Thompson Field were chosen, it would take longer, as swim center construction would not begin until the school district completes a site to replace Thompson Field.

At issue is the condition of the Emma Hood Swim Center — which opened in 1955 as the Alameda Swim Center and renamed to honor Emma Hood in 1992. The center has concerned the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health since at least 2010, when it first ordered the pool closed. 

“The overall problem remains that (Emma Hood) is an old facility in need of a significant rehabilitation or replacement,” city staff stated earlier this year. Issues that the county has with the pool include:  

  • Plaster in the diving pool, which dates to 1967, needs refinishing. 
  • An air leak affects the required water turnover rate, making the water unsafe. 
  • The concrete pool deck needs replacement to address both safety and American with Disabilities Act issues.

In addition, the California Interscholastic Federation ruled that the pool is neither long enough nor deep enough to allow swim or water polo meets. The pool is currently closed. 

The condition of Encinal High School’s pool plays no role in the decision for a new swim center. The pool there is just three years old.