GHS Aquatic Center Somehow Survives Senile Saga after Several Setbacks


The current plan for the GHS Aquatic Center.

Winston Clark, Staff Writer

Back since before quarantine, students on the swim and water polo teams have had to leave fifth period early to hop on a bus, making their way to another high school’s pool. This is the result of an ongoing history to make a new Glendale High School Aquatic Center, originally olympic-sized, then downsized, and then downsized again.

The aquatic center is scheduled to be complete by this December, but new additions are also being added to the surrounding areas as well, according to the Planning and Development Director for GUSD, Mr. Hagop Kassabian, who oversees all GUSD construction projects.

History has looked unfavorably on this project, plagued by the troubles of the CDC, budget cuts, and an architect’s death. “The project, as far as a concept, has probably been around for ten years,” said Mr. Kassabian. The sheet of synthetic cloth that hung over the diamond-segmented fence dividing the softball field envisioned an Olympic-sized pool that would support all of the Glendale District high schools, furnished with a locker room for each school that operated and practiced there. 

However, in an event of pure misfortune, the original architect for the project passed away, leaving GUSD no option but to delay construction.  With a desire to finish the project, the District asked the firm the architect worked with to help, but in another turn of misfortune, the firm closed down, leaving District officials the challenge of “picking up the pieces,” according to Mr. Kassabian. 

A new architect was hired, but by now the budget only allowed for a high school-sized pool, benefiting the community and the Glendale High swim and water polo teams. But you cannot just take a blueprint and construct someone else’s work. As Mr. Kassabian puts it: “When you have a set of blueprints, anybody can come and read them… but you can’t just say ‘sure’ and put your stamp on them.” They must go through extensive codes, requirements, and double checks. This procedure was followed by the second firm, but the budgets were cut even further, so a whole new blueprint needed to be drawn up anyway. The resulting size will be 35 by 25 yards, successfully meeting CIF guidelines.

In addition to the pool construction, the project is also refurbishing the entire GHS sports complex. The restrooms in the foyer of the gym are being completely renovated. The concessions area has been repainted and a sink has been installed behind the counter. 

The gym, previously undergoing a new paint finish from the year before, is having its floor completely redone, sanded and finished. The GHS tennis courts will also receive new fencing and lighting, new surfacing, and new netting, with the landscaping surrounding the courts being refurbished as well. 

For the baseball field, there will be a new outfield fence and backstop and all new irrigation systems (with no more orange water). The softball and baseball scoreboards will also be renovated. However, these renovations are not scheduled to be finished until possibly Spring of 2021.

The construction was stunted for a small time because of the coronavirus pandemic, in multiple ways. Rather than installing a conventional, plaster pool, the District is using a material called Myrtha, a product shipped from Italy. This country was shut down during the early days of the pandemic, and with that came a halt in construction of the pool itself. Additionally, construction work on the site is requiring additional precautionary measures. Workers must wear masks, socially distance from each other, and get their temperature checked regularly. Fortunately, no one working on the project has yet to contract coronavirus.

By the time you come back to school, you will hopefully see a new GHS, and in some ways, waiting has gotten you a better, more surprising return. GHS Explosion would like to thank Hagop Kassabian for allowing us to interview him.