Facing significantly higher costs than originally expected, renovation of the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex on the La Jolla High School campus that was planned to begin this summer has been postponed a year so the work can be scaled back and more funding can be found. Thus, the complex will remain open throughout 2022.

Coggan’s Olympic-size swimming pool, which opened in 2002, is the home of the physical education programs of La Jolla High and Muirlands Middle schools, the La Jolla High swim and water polo teams, area swim clubs and more. It also hosts CIF San Diego Section water polo championships, NCAA tournaments and more.

Coggan is an independent nonprofit facility owned and operated by the La Jolla Aquatic Complex Foundation. The foundation board says the time has come for a major upgrade, noting that pools should be replaced every 10 years or so.

The board launched a fundraising campaign in June 2021, when organizers said facility enhancements would include pool and deck resurfacing, considered a “first priority,” as the usable life of typical pool surfacing is seven to 10 years; construction of a retaining wall on the west side of the complex, currently an unusable slope; construction of an approximately 1,000-square-foot public shaded cabana and storage area; upgraded locker rooms and changing areas; expansion of the outdoor heated spa to double the capacity to 20 people; and transformation of a concession area into a multipurpose community and classroom space — all to the tune of about $4 million. The goal was to close the pool for three months during the summer to accommodate the renovation.

But the construction of the retaining wall between the school and the pool to enlarge the amount of usable space on the pool grounds proved to be a sticking point.

“The cost of that modification was ridiculous,” said aquatics director Randy Franke, who has overseen the facility’s day-to-day operations from the beginning. “With that additional square footage, we were going to modify some bathrooms, the teaching area and decks. But it was way too much.”

Also, Franke said, the timeline to add the retaining wall and storage units turned out to be six months.

“I can’t shut this pool down for that long,” he said. “The cost and the timeline were unreasonable.”

The cost goal is still $4.1 million, and to date, $2.6 million has been raised.

The Coggan Family Aquatic Complex

The Coggan Family Aquatic Complex is the home of the La Jolla High School swim and water polo teams, area swim clubs and more.

(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A message sent to supporters said bids from two general contractors were “significantly higher than initially expected and the construction timeline was estimated to extend three months beyond the summer break.”

“The pool board determined that in order to keep the pool open as much as possible and stay within a reasonable budget, it was best to modify the construction project and focus on the most pressing issues … [which] consist of replastering the pool, replacing the deck and refreshing the restrooms and locker areas,” the message stated.

Plans are being redesigned, Franke said, and the board opted to postpone the construction to summer 2023 to provide time to get the necessary permits and raise the additional funds.

The board has set up three meetings about the plans in coming weeks — two on Zoom and one in person:

• Noon Thursday, July 21, online. Registration is open at bit.ly/CogganJuly.

• 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 18, in person at 800 Nautilus St., La Jolla

• Noon Wednesday, Sept. 7, online. Registration is open at bit.ly/CogganSeptember.

To learn more, contact Franke at (858) 263-1802 or [email protected]. ◆


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