With multiple Olympic medalists looking on, the Los Alamitos Unified School District finally cut the ribbon on the high school’s dazzling new state of the art swimming complex Wednesday.
“This aquatic center has been a dream of our athletes, coaches, students and overall community for many years,” said Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver as he briefly welcomed the entire board and other distinguished guests.
“As many of you know, our previous pool was not adequate to host home meets. Our parents were always burdened with fundraising to rent lanes at other facilities,” he said.
But no more.
Pandemic notwithstanding, the $12.2 million facility, built with bond funding, was completed on time, came in on or under budget and is designed to facilitate events for the next 60 years.
“We would like to thank the community,” said LAUSD Board President Meg Cutuli. She said the facility was literally built on the trust the community had given them with the bond’s approval.
She said the “awesome” facility will bring “honor and recognition” to the community for years to come.
Dr. Gregg Stone, who came out of retirement to resume his previous role as LAHS Principal, joked that he had to endure 21 years “with the old pool” but said Los Al has always enjoyed an outstanding swim program and outstanding dive team.
Stone spoke on behalf of former coaches and introduced present coaches who were attending the event. Stone also introduced and spoke about many former standout swimmers and Olympians, including world famous swimmer Lynne Cox and 2016 Gold Medalist (water polo) Rachel Fattal.
“I’m pretty excited for it,” said Fattal. “it’s a beautiful pool.” Fattal, who won gold in the Rio Olympics, said such a facility will propel athletes into the future.
In 1988, Los Alamitos’ Lynne Cox swam 2.7 miles across the frigid Bering Strait between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in water that would kill most people in 30 minutes. Stone joked that it was actually Cox that brought President Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev together.
He said Los Alamitos has a rich history of outstanding swimmers and water sports champions.
Pulver also credited the “vision” of former Supt. Dr. Sherry Kropp, who also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“I could not be happier, really,” said Kropp, who thanked the community for supporting her vision.
“It is going to make a difference,” she said. “I’m super happy for our students, families, coaches and staff, I think it’s amazing.”
The 4:30 p.m. ceremony also gave administration officials an opportunity to show parents how the crowd canopy was specifically designed to shade parents in late afternoons, when many swim events would be held.
“Most of the functions are held in the afternoon,” said Pulver, “with the sun at our backs.”
The new Los Alamitos Aquatics Center features a competition 50-metre Olympic pool complex for swimming, diving, and water polo, as well as bleacher seating, MUSCO lighting, a 3M competition diving platform, classroom building and locker rooms.
Facilities director C.J. Knowland explained some of the state-of-the-art technology built into the facility, He said the complex includes an isolated chemical and operations room, with 12,500 square feet of surface space.
In addition, the pool includes 2 – 1-meter and 2 – 3-meter diving platforms, he said.
The Olympic pool ranges from 3 – 13 feet in depth, and includes starting platforms for nineteen lanes 35-yards long and nine 8-foot, 50-meter lanes, all of which also have their own starting platforms and electronic timing built in.
The complex also features an 8 by 13-foot full color LED scoreboard which is clearly visible from the 2,400 square foot shaded bleacher structure.
Bond program manager Mayra Gonzalez said Terracon was the architect and Hamel Contracting, Inc. was the project’s general contractor.
Dr. Nancy Nien, Assistant Supt. for Business Affairs, said, as of now, the project is substantially complete.
At their last meeting, the board and superintendent credited the entire team for their diligence and skill during the pandemic to bring the complex to life with little disruption, no major obstacles and with no budget overruns.
“It’s great to be able to bring our Griffins home,” said Pulver as he and the board cut the very large red ribbon.