A dirt lot that was once the home to Christmas tree farms and pumpkin patches has been transformed into a state-of-the-art wellness and aquatics complex for the South Bay community.
The 75,000 square foot Wellness & Aquatics Complex has taken over what has been known as the “corner lot” for decades and comes complete with two Olympic-sized swimming pools and a gymnasium with three basketball courts.
The $52 million facility was funded by Proposition R, a general obligation bond passed in 2008 that allows $389 million to be used to construct or rehabilitate facilities in the Southwestern Community College District.
The project hit some stumbling blocks in 2014 when an architect firms refunded money to the community college district after a corruption investigation.
The complex will serve both the students of Southwestern College (SWC) and the residents of South Bay, according to SWC.
The Wellness & Aquatics Complex “is in my humble opinion going to become the epicenter for health and wellness in the South Bay,” said Jim Spillers, Dean of Wellness, Exercise Science and Athletics at SWC.
SWC said community members will soon be able to acquire memberships to use the three-floor facility through the wellness company Medifit.
Spillers has seen the project from concept to completion and hopes it will be a beacon for future athletes and students.
“I know it sounds cliché but if you build it, they will come and that’s exactly what this building is going to accomplish as far as recruiting -- attracting both students and student-athletes to the college,” Spillers said.
On the outside of the building are Maya-inspired glyphs that embody a sentiment of health. The symbols designed by SWC art professor Dr. Mark Van Stone represent “first,” “health” and “pool,” according to SWC.
Student-athletes began using the facility upon its completion and are happy with the result.
“I feel like we're really lucky to be the first group to play in this gym and we're going to remember this for like the rest of our lives,” basketball player Andrea Cavazos said.
Student-athlete DJ Wilson said since moving into the new gymnasium, SWC men’s basketball team can’t lose. The team is on a 7-game winning streak.
“The new gym just has a new feel and it gives you, like, more energy and more – it’s just more fun to play basketball in this gym,” Wilson said.