Public invited to party welcoming new swimming pool

This sketch shows what the new Olympic-size pool and a smaller one will look like once they are installed at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

Former Olympic Trials pool to arrive on trucks March 3

Star Staff

A foundation bringing an Olympic-size swimming pool to Santa Ynez Valley Union High School will stage an event to remember with a welcoming party March 3 at Mission Santa Ines as the pool’s parts arrive on flatbed trucks.

“It will almost be like watching the spaceship trek down to the museum in Los Angeles, just on a local scale,” said Cary Losson, a board member of the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation.

The foundation is encouraging the entire community to come out from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. to welcome the pool, which was seen on television last year during the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

“We have been working diligently with other community organizations to secure funding for the new pool. We are excited to get this opportunity for the valley,” said foundation member Bruce Porter.

The Aquatics Foundation was established to replace the 50-year-old, crumbling and undersized high school pool with a new full-sized one. The new pool will be installed in the parking lot between the Old Gym and Refugio Road, and another smaller pool will be installed on the site of the current pool.

The cost will be about $5 million. The committee has raised the $1 million needed as a down payment with the help of an anonymous donation of $800,000.

“The new aquatics complex’s configuration will ensure the community will have far greater access to water-related activities even during the school day, with opportunities for programming from city recreation departments, the YMCA and others,” Porter said.

The complex will be built with the world’s most modern pool technology, using modules that greatly decrease costs for both construction and long-term maintenance, according to the foundation.

“The current pool is failing badly, with spalling (chipping) concrete, rebar popping up through the deck, imploded underground piping, cracks, etc. During its 51 years, it has already seen two major overhauls and many numerous repairs. Mechanical systems are constantly failing,” Porter said.

The Aquatics Foundation is purchasing the modular components from the manufacturer that installed one of the pools that was used for this summer’s Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.

Gary Hall Jr., a five-time gold medalist from previous Olympics who lives in the Santa Ynez Valley with his family, provided commentary and interviews with swimmers during the trials.

For more information about the planned community pool or ways to volunteer or donate, visit www.syvaquatics.org.