Published : Monday, May 4, 2015 | 5:54 PM
Being located in Southern California has its advantages! For Clairbourn school it means enjoying a warm climate perfect for swimming. The luxury of an on-campus pool, for use by our Kindergarten through 8th grade students, allows us to help kids be water-safe by training them early to be strong, confident swimmers.
Clairbourn School has enjoyed several pools on its campus since the 1930s. Along the western perimeter, there used to be an amazing movie-star-style pool, complete with a center fountain, located in the spot where the 1st-3rd Randall Hall classrooms now stand. This pool was removed in the late 1960s to make room for the Gardner Building which existed from 1969 to 2000.
A second pool was acquired in 1958 when Clairbourn expanded the campus grounds eastward to the Thompson Estate property. This pool, located directly across from the Manor House, has been used for P.E. classes and summer programs ever since.
At one time, it even included a tall slide, won as a prize by a teacher who appeared on a game show. Insurance regulations eventually became stricter and the school wasn’t allowed to replace the slide. Sadly it was removed when the chute wore out.
In the 1980s, the pool’s life was extended by giving it a fiberglass lining, but by the late 2000s, the swimming pool was showing its age. The plumbing lines were congested, there was leakage from earthquake cracks, the pump and filters were old, the pool required special cleaning, and there were a host of cosmetic problems. The question of whether or not to keep the pool was weighed, but after due consideration, the importance of serving our students and families with a swimming program won the day!
In the Fall of 2014, Clairbourn decided to completely renew this 80,000 plus gallon pool. It required draining all the water, jack-hammering the pool down to its undermost layer, repairing all the structural cracks, replacing the electric lines and pool light, splitting the drain, replacing the plumbing lines, coping, concrete decks, and replacing all the heating, filtering, and pump equipment. A new life-guard perch, special ladders, swimming lanes, and depth markers were also added. The school also switched to a saline-based system which means less irritating chlorine needs to be added to the water each week.
The student body watched the construction with excitement during the fall and winter months, waiting for the weather to warm up so they could dive in and enjoy this new jewel of the campus. But, the first ones to enjoy the pool turned out to be a pair of Canada geese! Right after Spring Break, a goose nest was discovered next to the pool. Because migrating birds and their nests are protected by Federal law, the school had to make accommodations to ensure the birds were not disturbed by swimming students until the eggs hatch. Both the mother and father goose have been frequently seen taking breaks from their guard and nest-sitting duties to swim in the heated pool.
As the spring and summer months approach, our students are eagerly anticipating their chance to swim in the pool for P.E. and play water games in the Summer Advantage Program, and who knows, they just might be joined by some adorable teenage-goslings!
Clairbourn School, 8400 Huntington Drive, San Gabriel, (626) 286-3108 or visit www.clairbourn.org.