For decades, the competitive swim teams of the Kern High School District have had to rent space for practice and competitions. Thursday the new aquatic complex center will bring a new chapter to those teams.
"The first time and last time the Kern High School District built an aquatic facility was in 1919 and it was demolish in 1938 when they expanded the gym," explained Dr. Dean McGee, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation.
In 2016, Kern County voted to pass Measure K, which specifically allocated for construction in the Kern High School District of a new aquatic center.
"Once that was passed we began immediate efforts to design this facility. Went through a design process for about a year, year and a half. Then we started construction almost two years ago, to now opening this facility just four years after the bond passed," said McGee.
The $14 million complex on the corner of Old River and Berkshire Road can host up to 8 teams in the water and can fit about 700 spectators on the stands.
"This swimming pool was specifically designed to accommodate a wide range of competitions with a minimum depth of 7 feet in the Olympic pool."
For years the swim team at Independence High School has been renting practice space at a local middle school.
"The facility is nice and well kept but its 3 and a half feet deep. So moving to this pool is going to be a big upgrade for my kids because now they can dive, now they can actually swim a full 25 because the other pool is 33 and the kids are super excited about coming here," said Independence High School swim coach Allison Abrahams.
With diving boards and Olympic-sized lanes, the team hopes the new center will make them even more competitive.
"Right now they dive in and they can swim one or two strokes and they're at the end of that dive well. Our pool here they will be able do... time trials, they will be able to do all kinds of things we werent able to do over there. We're just excited to have a facility that's nice, that belongs to our district and is super close," added Abrahams.