Cabrillo Aquatic Center Opens

Cabrillo High School’s new aquatic center officially opened this week during a ribbon-cutting ceremony complete with performances by the school’s steel drum band, marching band and cheerleaders.

Long Beach Unified School District school board members joined LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser and other dignitaries to dedicate the $12 million facility, which was funded by Measure K school bonds.

Cabrillo’s 40-meter pool contains more than a half million gallons of water, all temperature controlled and chemically-balanced by a computerized system.  The center boasts bleachers for 250 people and locker rooms for girls’ and boys’ teams.  Another set of locker rooms is provided for physical education classes.

The aquatic complex also has an electronic scoreboard, ticket booth, concession area and a new parking lot.

School board member Felton Williams said the addition of the aquatic center to Cabrillo helps to create parity with LBUSD’s other large high schools, each of which have swim facilities.  During the dedication ceremony, Williams recognized former Cabrillo co-principal Mel Collins’ early advocacy for such a facility.

“I want to thank Mel for nudging me each and every time we saw one another,” Williams said.  Collins and his fellow, former co-principal Cynthia Terry were on hand to help dedicate the aquatic center.

The school’s current co-principal, Elio Mendoza, said the facility will allow Cabrillo to offer swim and water polo teams, and he hopes the aquatic center can be used by the community during non-school periods like summer vacation.

“This is something that means a lot to the neighborhood,” Mendoza said.  “We’re interested in partnering with the community to offer swim lessons and recreational swimming.”

Measure K school bonds were approved by local voters in 2008 and can be used only for school construction and renovation.

“Thanks to Measure K, our dream of having a state-of-the-art aquatic center here at Cabrillo is a reality.  It’s a dream come true for many,” school board Vice President Diana Craighead told an enthusiastic crowd at the ceremony.  “We owe a tremendous debt to the community here that asked for and has stood behind this center from conception to completion.  It is a beautiful facility that is a testament to the community it serves.”