Hollister aquatic center hopes dashed

Proposed site in no-build fault zone

A proposed public aquatic center in Hollister will not proceed as planned because the proposed site at San Benito High School is in an earthquake zone.

“Unfortunately since late last week, the geologic report came back and the no-build zone for the earthquake fault that runs through campus was doubled in size,” said Jud Shutts, chief operations officer for Hollister for Aquatics, a local nonprofit that would have operated the center.

The revelation came at last Thursday’s intergovernmental committee meeting.

Shutts told officials from Hollister, San Juan Bautista and San Benito County that results from the latest report left “absolutely no room” for the group’s plans to build a recreation facility next to the high school’s new 50-meter and 25-yard pools.

The discovery meant the end of an aquatic center, but the two new high school pools will go ahead as planned.

The aquatic center site is in an area affected by the Calaveras Fault that runs through town and San Benito High School.

San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum said the geotech report, which needs to be completed whenever new construction is proposed for the campus, found a new fault fracture.

“Looking at the different fault lines, we actually found a new fracture on the south part of our campus,” he said.

The original aquatic center proposal included a lazy river, wave generator, splash pad and water slide. This was reduced in size when the proposal couldn’t get adequate financial commitment from local governments.

Hollister for Aquatics said it had also looked into private donations.

“The aquatic center and its overall design integrity is still intact,” Tennenbaum said. “The unfortunate part right now is the land allocated for that is in a no-build zone.”

The public will be able to use the two new high school pools outside of school hours.

“The current plan is for some nonprofit, Hollister for Aquatics or some other nonprofit, to run the public side of the pool during non-school hours,” Shutts said. “During the summer the pool would be available to the general public. There would be an admission fee. We’d provide hopefully some training and aerobics classes.”

As the intergovernmental committee discussed other ways to make the aquatic center happen, Hollister Councilman Karson Klauer reminded everyone to consider scale.

“The location that’s been discussed was to me the best location you’d find anywhere in the county because you’d get to use a lot of the equipment the school district was already putting in,” Klauer said. “So when you start looking at other sites, I think the dollar signs only go up. There’s only more zeroes on top of it. We never actually got around to figuring out how we were going to pay for the minimized version of that plan.”

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