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It's a pool to be proud of

Calling The Shots

Costa Mesa High's new pool is state of the art and everyone's excited, school administrators say.

September 20, 2010|By Steve Virgen
  • Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, the superintendent of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District looks at the new swimming pool at Costa Mesa High School during a tour of the facility Monday, Sept. 20. (Scott Smeltzer)
Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, the superintendent of the Newport-Mesa… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

COSTA MESA — A charming path at Costa Mesa High is commonly referred to as "the yellow brick road" by the architects who planned a renovation project. There's no Emerald City at the end, but for most in the school's community they find something just as majestic to them.

It's the Costa Mesa High School Aquatics Center.

The school's "yellow brick road," is a walkway that directs people from near the athletics facilities into the school.

As people enter from the student parking lot, it's easy to notice the new pool. It's a 50-meter Olympic-size pool. It's set to open Nov. 1, fulfilling a dream that's been in place for the past three decades.

A group that included the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education, superintendent, cabinet members, project management people and, yours truly, received an exclusive tour of the aquatics facility Monday afternoon.

A little more than a year ago, the group came to the same area, where there was just a large hole.

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Now there's a pool, "633,000 gallons of water," said Jim Lamond, the district's director of facilities development planning and design.

There's also a classroom connected to the facility, as well as a snack bar. The pool will have special touch pads for timing at swim events.

"State of the art" is the term that gets thrown around when describing each part of the facility.

That would be the apt description for the scoreboard, which can actually screen movies. There's also a sound system that's top of the line, and soon it will be blaring warm-up music and announcers calling out names or the next event in a swim meet.

"I'm over-the-top excited," said Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard, describing his mood Monday. "It's such a dream come true for us. It's so beautiful. It's a masterpiece."

Five years ago that wasn't the case. The school's pool was borderline embarrassing. It was an old-school, 25-yard L-shaped pool. Water polo players would sometimes fake that they were treading water because it was so easy to touch the pool's floor.

"It was, in size, inadequate for modern meets, and it was in poor shape," said Tim Marsh, the district administrative director of facilities support services. "It wasn't like anyone would get hurt, but it was just in bad shape."

But now?

"It's a gorgeous facility," Marsh said. "The pool itself is absolutely beautiful. The rest of the complex is wonderful. It should meet all their needs for the next several decades."

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