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Walnut Valley Unified and Diamond Bar High Unveil New Aquatic Center

Dennis R. Paul Aquatic Center at Diamond Bar High School is unveiled. Dec. 11, 2013
Dennis R. Paul Aquatic Center at Diamond Bar High School is unveiled. Dec. 11, 2013

The Walnut Valley Unified School District and Diamond Bar High debuted the campus' newly completed aquatic center Wednesday.

After the ribbon cutting, the Diamond Bar High School Brass Ensemble played "Olympic Fanfare," as the four captains of the swim team stood at the blocks. Principal Catherine Real instructed them to take their marks and after being signaled to dive in, they did just that to applause from the crowd.

Swim team captain Matthew Sia won't get to compete in the new pool because he is a senior, but said he was happy for those who would come after him.

"It's really a new home for the other swimmers coming in," he said. "Instead of practicing in a rival's pool, like at Walnut High, we get to practice here at our home."

The $10.7 million Dennis R. Paul Aquatic center was made possible through voter-approved bond Measures S and Y, passed in November 2007. The cost also includes a neighboring two-story building with 20 classrooms.

Paul, the former Diamond Bar High principal for whom the aquatic center is dedicated, said his family was honored and humbled to have the name on the facility.

He said the honor was a shared one with coaches, staff, fellow administrators, Brahma Boosters, and others in the community who lobbied for a pool for years and helped to get the bond measures passed.

He also gave a nod to Jeff Bloedorn, the school district's director of maintenance, operations, transportation, and facilities.

"In reality we've always had a pool on this campus, at least in pictures," he said.  "The picture changed over the years, but there was always a pool somewhere.  But Jeff Bloedorn and your crew, you got the right location. You got the right pool."

Paul added that while some of the more recent alums did not see the pool built while attending Diamond Bar High, their children might get a chance to enjoy the new facility in the future.

"No matter where life takes you, you will always be a Brahma and this will always been your home," he said. "Today, this home got even more majestic."

Principal Catherine Real lauded Paul for his vision and foresight for the campus from its inception.

"You laid the foundation of the four 'A's, academics, activities, the arts, and athletics and thanks to you, we are taking another smart step in supporting our students, our staff and our community," she said.

The Walnut Valley Unified School District's Board of Trustees awarded the contract to build the 12-lane pool and adjacent classroom project on Oct. 19, 2011.

Besides the pool, the aquatic center includes a locker room with men's and women's restrooms, two fitness classrooms, public restrooms, a coach's room, a pool storage room, a pool equipment room, a team room, and stadium seating with a shade structure.

Superintendent Robert Taylor thanked staff and students for their patience in working around construction.

"This is such a beautiful facility," he said. "I think we can all be proud that this is a facility in our school district."

Board President Helen Hall echoed those thanks and recalled that when she first moved to Diamond Bar in 1980, the campus was just a mound of dirt with a small sign indicating that is was the site of a future school.

It took a long time to build the school, just as it took many years for the pool, she said.

The support of voters helped to make it happen and the district plans to come up with a way that the community can share in the joint project, she said.

Hall added that the two bond measures were split, so that it could really be clear that voters supported the pool.

"It shows you that the community still comes together when there is a need," she said. "We know that in education, there is a balance between the academic and the extracurricular and I can say that our school district has done a fantastic job in putting the two together and really supporting the students here and the community."


vivian m December 14, 2013 at 03:23 PM
could you post more pictures of the completed construction at DBH? I would love to see more of the $10 million completed project. Does the completed construction work mean they will have the July 4th fireworks at Diamond Bar High for the next July 4th celebration?
vivian m December 14, 2013 at 03:26 PM
oops, sorry I just saw more pictures above. I just had to click on the picture icons. I'd still like to know if Diamond Bar will have fireworks at DBHS this coming July 4th. I just moved in close by DBH and hoping to be able to see the fireworks from our house this July.
Melanie C. Johnson (Editor) December 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Hi Vivian M. Glad you saw the other photos. I will check with the city. I am not sure the decision has been made yet, but they do likely have a mid-year budget process coming up soon after the new year that would indicate whether or not they plan to have the fireworks. I will post something just as soon as I know.
Concerned Parent December 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Sorry, I am just curios. "The $10.7 million Dennis R. Paul Aquatic center was made possible through voter-approved bond Measures S and Y, passed in November 2007. The cost also includes a neighboring two-story building with 20 classrooms." Who will be paying the bonds back, DB citizens or Walnut citizens too?
Melanie C. Johnson (Editor) December 16, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Hi Concerned Parent. The bond money comes from property taxes of all residents in the district, those in Walnut and Diamond Bar. That fact that it requires the increasing of taxes is the reason voters must approve it for it to move forward. If a resident lives in the Walnut area that serves Rowland Unified, they pay for the bond measure in Rowland Unified. If a resident lives in the area of Diamond Bar that serves Pomona Unified, those residents would pay for any bond measures approved for that district. Diamond Bar residents will be paying for any projects done in Walnut...the band building, school modifications...and Walnut residents will be paying for projects done in Diamond Bar. It's a district wide thing. I hope that helps to answer your questions.
Keith Murakami January 03, 2014 at 08:18 PM
Melanie: I don't have a problem seeing a portion of my property tax pay for the costs of these bonds for all the schools in the District just as long as the District is treating Walnut and Diamond Bar schools fairly and equitably. As a public service, could you request the District to provide a detailed breakdown of improvements and their related costs made to Chaparral Middle, Diamond Bar High, Suzanne Middle and Walnut High Schools, say in the last 10 - 15 years. This will alleviate any suspicion that I and some Walnut residents have, that the District is not fairly allocating funds raised from bonds to improve these schools fairly and equitably. Recently, Walnut residents are being asked to help pay for $58.4 million new facilities at Chaparral and Diamond Bar High, while Diamond Bar residents are only asked to help pay $13.5 million towards new facilities at Suzanne and Walnut High. That's a $44.9 million difference that Walnut residents are shouldering.
Lc April 04, 2014 at 02:21 AM
WHY are the residents of the north side of Diamond bar being punished to attend Pamona schools im so very disappointed that my son would had to attend diamond ranch and the administration ... well lets not go there...I moved here because of the schools....

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