CALEXICO – Beating the intense summer heat, hundreds of Valley residents made their way to the newly-built Calexico High School’s Margarita De Necochea Bulldog Aquatic Center Friday and Saturday during the grand opening of the state-of-the-art pool facility.
The Margarita De Necochea Bulldog Aquatic Center is located at 1030 Encinitas Avenue, which replaces the pool damaged by the 7.2 earthquake that struck the region back in April of 2010.
The state-of-the-art recreational facility includes an eight-lane competition pool with a depth of six to seven feet, equipped with an ADA compliant handicap pool lift, and a recreational pool at a depth of three to four feet, and lastly, a “kiddy” pool along with benches and shade structures for the facility.
Locker rooms, shower rooms and bathrooms are still currently under construction.
“I’m glad it’s opened already, so our kids have something to do during the summer,” said Rosa Alvarez, a Calexico resident. “I just wish there was proper signage guiding us where to park. I had to drive around until I drove into the high school parking lot and figured out that was the entrance.”
On-duty lifeguard Armando Montoya said the number of people attending has been consistent at close to 200 each day.
“We definitely see most of the people during the evening session that runs from 7 to 9:00 p.m.,” said Montoya. “At night, everybody comes because it’s fresher, the water is better, cooler. It’s just a better time all around.”
Montoya is one of nine certified lifeguards who work at the center.
“I like how the pool is divided into two sections,” said Alvarez. “The kids can be on one side and the more experienced swimmers on the other. It’s great for either kids or adults to cool off, especially during the high temperatures in the Valley. Every city in the Valley has a pool, so it was about time Calexico opened theirs. I am very pleased.”
According to lifeguard Sebastian Savo, on Friday, the aquatic center reached its capacity of 336 during the evening session.
“There were so many people it was unbelievable,” said Savo. “We had lifeguards on every corner of the pools, monitoring a section each, but it was cool seeing the center full.”
Friends Madeline Ochoa and Paige Tapia, both 11, spent the afternoon together at the aquatic center making summer plans.
The center is open from Monday through Saturday with several sessions throughout the day at a cost of $1 per child per session, and $2 per adult per session. For session times, visit calexicorecreation.org
The $7.4 million project consisted of $2.7 in state funding from a California state Parks and Recreation Department grant, Calexico’s Measure H Revenue, Calexico’s Measure H bond and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.