ATASCADERO — Tuesday afternoon inside the new Colony Market and Deli on the corner of Traffic Way and El Camino, the Greyhound Foundation held a fundraiser and open discussion for a new pool at Atascadero High School. Old and new Hounds alike gathered at the shop to grab some lunch or a few after-work refreshments as a portion of the sales during the meeting also went toward the pool.
The Greyhound Foundation had flyers available to those in attendance with a brief timeline outlining the steps that have taken place thus far, as well as the money raised. The timeline started with the community engaging the Atascadero Unified School District in September of 2017 followed by coaches and community members attending the Build a Pool conference that was hosted by USA swimming in April of 2018.
Around 5:30 p.m. Max Zappas, who works with the Greyhound Foundation and has shouldered much of the fundraising effort, Jon Conrad, Atascadero’s current boy's varsity water polo coach, and EJ Rossi, AUSD assistant superintendent, each took a turn addressing the community about the pool.
“We are currently busting at the seams in the water polo program,” Conrad stated. “We have 76 kids that are going to be coming out for water polo, we had 51 in the pool, well we couldn’t even use our own pool because we are currently locked out of it, so we definitely have a need for a new pool. We were at Kennedy [Club Fitness] in six lanes.”
Water polo season begins on Friday and after swimming at Kennedy Club Fitness for the spring swim season it appears the Hounds will again be off-campus as the old on-campus pool is not yet ready to be in use. While the lack of pool does hurt the current aquatics team, Conrad also touched on the fact that Atascadero’s younger age groups and youth programs and starting to turn the corner.
“We have a really strong age group program going from ages 5 up to 13 and these kids have been going down recently and beating up on AG and beating up on SLO’s age group teams,” Conrad said. “So that is a really good sign for what is going on with aquatics here in Atascadero and with your support, we can really put Atascadero on the map as far as an aquatics program with swimming and water polo.”
Immediately following Conrad, Rossi stated, “Our community supported our district with a bond so many years back and working on every classroom was that first priority and now as we are coming to the conclusion of that and getting that done our board is starting to look at what are the next set of priorities and the pool is definitely looked at as one of our highest priorities. So as we look forward into how to do that, this partnership will help immensely.”
The fundraising the Greyhound Foundation is performing now is not to cover the expenses of the pool itself, but the planning and designs for a pool in the future. The planning and designing of any large-scale building take most of the time and according to Rossi the district has, in a way, began that process in the form of an Education Specification meeting.
The Greyhound Foundation has raised around $17,000 thus far of their $100,000 goal.