It was a ceremonial splash that was long overdue.
After years of hard work, hope and some tough setbacks, the IUSD Board of Education approved the construction of an eagerly awaited swimming pool at Woodbridge High School back in December 2008. On Tuesday, Nov. 16, school and district officials were finally able to take part in a proper groundbreaking ceremony, just yards from where the planned aquatic center is taking shape.
Towels and goggles will have to wait a few more months, of course. But on this day, gold-painted shovels were a very welcome sight.
“I know this was a dream of so many of you here,” school board member Carolyn McInerney told the gathered crowd. “I’m so grateful and happy that we were able to pull this off.”
Scheduled to be completed over the summer, the Woodbridge pool will span 50 meters by 25 yards, surrounded by a deck of 12 feet to 15 feet. In addition, the center will house restrooms, showers, locker facilities, team rooms and a ticket booth.
The cost of the project is about $6.3 million, which will come from a special reserve fund that can only be used to pay for facilities. By law, most construction dollars cannot be intermingled with the district’s operating budget.
On Tuesday, the mood was beyond celebratory as guest speakers included board member McInerney, Parent Kevin Trussel (who emceed the event), Principal Jason Viloria, IUSD Superintendent Gwen Gross, Athletic Director Alan Dugard and Swim Coach Pat Bangs, who proudly noted that her team will finally be able to participate in morning practices and host local swim meets.
“I’m an optimist,” she said, “but I began to sort of lose hope there.”
In his remarks, Dugard pointed out that it took a cadre of parents, coaches, students and teachers to get to this point, but future generations of Warriors will undoubtedly be the beneficiaries.
“To those future swimmers who will no longer have to get on a bus, congratulations,” he said.
Though the site still resembles a hole in the earth, officials say the state-of-the-art pool will be ready for use by Woodbridge’s water polo and swim teams next September.
And it could be filled with water a little sooner than expected. The weekend forecast calls for rain.