frequently asked questions
History & Plans
Why and when did Sonoma Splash get started?
In 2005, the Sonoma Valley high school swimming pool, which also served as the only public access community pool in Sonoma Valley, was abruptly closed. Soon after, an existing 501(c)3 nonprofit, The Sonoma Valley Health & Recreation Association was re-purposed to focus solely on building a community access aquatic facility for all Sonoma Valley residents. The nonprofit became known as Sonoma Splash, and has been working over 10 years to bring a community pool to the Valley. We have finally succeeded with the Sonoma Valley high school partnership!
This is an excellent example of a partnership between a school district and a nonprofit to provide state-of-the-art facilities and programming for the community.
What is Sonoma Splash's mission and objectives?
The Sonoma Valley Health & Recreation Association (known as Sonoma Splash) is committed to providing a sustainable, state of the art, multi-use aquatic and recreation facility accessible to all Sonoma Valley residents for aquatics education and safety, recreation, fitness, physical therapy, and family fun.
What happened to the plans for a community pool at the Verano Ave site?
While the Verano Avenue site was a great location for a community pool, after a full review it was determined that an aquatic facility would not be financially viable as a standalone entity. As an alternative, Sonoma Splash began to look for a community partner with whom it could build and operate a pool together. The Sonoma Valley Unified School District quickly became the obvious choice.
Aquatic Center Design
How much will the new center cost to build? Where are the funds coming from?
The construction budget for the aquatic center, including two swimming pools, student locker rooms, community buildings and the supporting infrastructure on the high school campus, is approximately $15m. Sonoma Splash will contribute $1.5m to the project, and the Sonoma Valley Unified School District is funding the remainder through community-approved bonds.
When will the center be open?
The aquatic center, which will be located at the Sonoma Valley High School, is scheduled to open in summer 2022.
Why two pools?
The two-pool design was developed to accommodate use of the facility by the school district and the community at the same time, and to allow a wide range of uses and activities. The aquatic center was designed to meet both the needs of the school district and the community while remaining financially sustainable.
What types of facilities will be available on site?
The aquatic facility design includes a 14-lane, 25-yard “competition” pool and a 60’x30’ instructional pool. There will be separate student and community locker/shower buildings, and separate entrances for students and community members. In addition, there will be pool equipment and maintenance buildings on site.
What are the annual costs to operate the center? Where are the operating funds coming from?
Operating costs are estimated to be between $200-300,000 per year. Coverage of those expenses will be shared between the school district and Sonoma Splash.
Are there accommodations for students and community members with physical disabilities?
Yes, both pools will have standard ADA access points, and the instructional pool will have a wheelchair ramp. The locker rooms have also been designed to be accessible for those with physical challenges.
How much water will the pools use?
Surprisingly, once the pools are filled initially, the amount of water used is equal to or less than landscaping for the same amount of area.
Why did the school district and Splash form a partnership for an aquatic center?
Both parties determined independently that building and managing a swimming pool would be financially challenging. In discussions together, they quickly determined there was an opportunity to build a single aquatic facility that meets the needs of both the district and the community in a sustainable model.
Are community members allowed to use the aquatic center during school hours?
Yes, the community will have access to the instructional pool during school hours for programming, such as learn-to-swim, senior movement, water therapy, etc.
Who manages the aquatic center and the schedule?
There will be a dedicated, on-site manager overseeing the aquatic facility. The programming schedule will be managed by an operating committee comprised of school district and Sonoma Splash representatives.
How is Sonoma Splash contributing to the project?
Sonoma Splash has committed $1.5m to the development of the facility, and will generate net revenues through community programming that help offset annual expenses.
How is SVUSD contributing to the project?
The Sonoma Valley Unified School District contributed 90% of capital costs and is providing access to the facility on school grounds to community members. This is an excellent example of a partnership between a school district and a nonprofit to provide state-of-the-art facilities and programming for the community.
Student Programs & Activities
What swim programs does the district offer to students?
Initially, the school district will offer PE classes and special needs programming, and school sports such as swim team and water polo.
Will swim and water polo teams practice and compete at the center?
Yes, both school teams and community clubs will be able to practice and compete at the high school aquatic center.
Will elementary and middle school students use the center during the school day?
This is an exciting opportunity for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District to develop a comprehensive aquatics program for all Sonoma Valley students! Details of district programming will be coming in 2022.
Community Memberships & Programming
Are memberships available, and how much do they cost?
Yes, annual, monthly and weekly memberships will be available. The fee structure is still being developed with the goal of ensuring both financial viability and equitable access.
Are day use passes available? How much do they cost?
Yes, day use passes will be available. The fee structure is still being developed with the goal of ensuring both financial viability and equitable access.
What types of community programming are available at the aquatic center?
The full community schedule is under development, and will include many types of programming:
- Youth swim lessons
- Adult programs, such as lap swimming, master swimming, swim lessons, and aquatic fitness
- Senior fitness programs
- Club sports, such as swim team and water polo
- Special Needs programming including athletic rehab, aquatics therapy, and Special Olympics,
- Summer Programs such as youth camps, recreational swim team, and Red Cross certification programs
- Open Community and Family Swim
Is the aquatic center available to rent?
There will be opportunities for community groups to rent the facility for events, and individual community members may be able rent the facility for birthday parties and other celebrations if the school and community schedule allows.
Will swim meets and events be held at the center?
Yes, both for school league events and club sports.
Who provides swim lessons and activities?
Sonoma Splash will contract with outside professional providers for swim lessons and other aquatic programming for all age groups
Are there scholarships or special pricing for any programs?
There will be a wide-ranging scholarship program in line with Sonoma Splash’s mission to provide access to all community members.
Are the pools open to the public year round?
Yes, the facility will be open year-round, and access will vary based on school district and community needs throughout the year.
Are there lifeguards?
There will be certified safety personnel on the pool deck any time community members are in the water.
Ways Community Members Can Get Involved
What types of volunteer and Board opportunities are there? How do I get involved?
There are a variety of ways the public can get involved by volunteering in support of the high school aquatic center. Sonoma Splash encourages you to volunteer or to financially support our scholarship programs.
For those with a longer-term interest in sustaining a community aquatic center in Sonoma Valley, please consider serving as a Board or committee member.
- For more information, click here.
If you have partnership, programming or funding ideas, please contact Sonoma Splash here.
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