New aquatic center dedicated to community

Mayor of La Verne Jon Blickenstaff, along with University of La Verne President, Stephen Morgan and Ed Jones, president of the Bonita Unified School District Board of Education, unveiled a plaque at the new City of La Verne Aquatics Center. The center is for the citizens of La Verne and the student athletes of Bonita High School and ULV to utilize. / photo by Summer Herndon
Mayor of La Verne Jon Blickenstaff, along with University of La Verne President, Stephen Morgan and Ed Jones, president of the Bonita Unified School District Board of Education, unveiled a plaque at the new City of La Verne Aquatics Center. The center is for the citizens of La Verne and the student athletes of Bonita High School and ULV to utilize. / photo by Summer Herndon

by Michelle Thornton
Staff Writer

The City of La Verne, Bonita Unified School District, the University of La Verne and members of the community gathered on Jan. 24 for the dedication of the new City of La Verne Aquatics Center.

On the back of the program that was handed out was explanation of whom the dedication was for. It read, “This facility is dedicated in recognition of past city leaders who had the foresight and determination to build a swimming pool for the youth of the community, and the hope that the future community leaders will employ such vision and strength of will.”

On July 4, 1966, La Verne dedicated its first public swimming pool on this same site in Las Flores Park as the newly innovated pool.

The pool originally was used by Bonita High School as a practice facility in the 1980s, but it was not designed for competition.

Now, three decades after the first dedication, it has been rebuilt for competition.

Much has changed since the dedication of 1966. The pool has increased in size, going from 4,500 square feet to 10,983 square feet with 613,000 gallons of water vs. the 186,000 that filled the previous facility.

In addition to BHS’s swim and water polo teams, ULV’s swim and water polo teams will utilize the facility next year. Pool managers will also schedule time and events for the community.

Although scheduling has not been confirmed, there does not appear to be any foreseeable problems.

“The sports that are in season will be given priority,” said ULV swim coach John Hallman.

Among the people who spoke was Mayor Jon Blickenstaff, who introduced and presented the City Council of 1966 with “Pride of La Verne” plaques. Those present were former mayor Frank Johnson, and councilmen Mike Morales, whose wife Alice accepted his plaque, Charles Oveholtzer, Elvis Swindel, and Norman Vroman, many of whom were clad in Hawaiian shirts and colorful plastic leis.

In his closing words, he also spoke of the “can do attitude” of La Verne.

President Morgan, who was also at the dedication, shared a short story. He told the audience of the time he was a sophomore at ULV in 1966 and the first pool was dedicated. He remembered not paying any attention to its importance and then he commented by saying, “I would have never guessed that 32 years later I’d be at this dedication.”

Harden’s comments were regarding page six of the annual budget, which is La Verne’s mission statement. He said that the dedication was not about the pool, it was about community and about “preserving small town virtues.”

Harden also remarked that this idea did not come from the council, it came from the city and the council was just being responsive to the needs of the city.

“We just rolled up our sleeves and said that no matter what we were gonna get it done,” Harden said.

After the presentations, the public was invited to view pictures of the pool in its construction stages, to have a piece of pineapple pizza, a soda, and to take a dip in the pool.

First in the pool was BHS sophomore Michelle Granca who was pushed in by her swim coach Andy Rosenberg.

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