By Kelli Gile
Walnut- Community members caught their first glimpse of the renovated Aquatics Center at Walnut High School during a poolside event on April 20.
“It’s a great day to celebrate the opening of our new pool!” said Principal Brandon Dade as he welcomed parents, students, staff, and officials gathered for the celebration.
The grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony marked the completion of the $2.3 million construction project.
The nine-lane competition venue and upgraded facilities were made possible by voter approval of Bond Measures S & Y passed in November 2007.
“I want to thank the parents, because without them, we would not have this today,” said Board President Helen Hall. “Our parents really care in Walnut Valley!”
The construction began in July 2015 with the removal of the outdated swimming pool and surrounding decking.
For the past several months Mustang swim and water polo teams have been practicing and competing at Diamond Bar High.
“I’m appreciative of our coaches and administration that have been so flexible during this project,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.
Walnut students and staff were excited to host their first competition in the new 304,603-gallon swimming pool immediately following the ceremony.
“We’ve had a great team for several years and now we have a pool that represents the quality of our program,” said head swim coach, Ed Gautreau. “I’m happy that we can call this our home again!”
“The athletic department would like to thank everyone that was instrumental in the modernization of our aquatic facility,” said director Jerry Person.
The swim complex features new decking and lighting, locker rooms with men’s and women’s restrooms, coach’s room, pool storage building, mechanical room, pool equipment building and supplies, public restrooms, galvanized iron fencing, aluminum bleachers with shade structure, and scoreboard.
After the ribbon cutting, swim team and water polo members took to the blocks for their first official dive.
Senior swim captain Leah Rickard said joining the swim team four years ago was one of the best decisions of her life.
“Sports programs teach respect, self motivation, time management, and how to be a team player,” she said.
“It is on this deck that I’ve not only grown as a swimmer, but also as a person and a leader.”
The new aquatics center will primarily be used for the school’s swim program and physical education classes, but will soon be open to the community for recreational activities during the summer as well.
“Walnut High School Aquatics has a strong tradition that will be carried on for many years to come,” Person added.