Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A special start to Summer Swimming

Los Angeles - It started with a double ceremony and now it has ended with a double ceremony. In November 2007, the Department of Recreation and Parks celebrated the rededication of Harvard Recreation Center as the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center and broke ground for the facility's pool. Almost two years later on June 21, 2009, we returned to the same place to celebrate the grand opening of the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Center and the start of the 2009 swimming season.

The $6.2 million aquatic center includes a 3,400-square-foot traditional swimming pool, a 2,600-square-foot activity pool with zero depth entry, play equipment and a water slide. There is also a 3,700-square-foot one-story masonry building with a lifeguard station, first aid room, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms and six individual changing rooms.

Western Group, Inc. built the aquatic complex, which was designed by Jones & Madhavan Architecture Engineering. The City's Bureau of Engineering managed the project. Funding came from Proposition K, Proposition 40 and Kaiser Permanente.
The new aquatic center and recreation center was renamed after Jackie Tatum a former Recreation and Parks General Manager. Ms. Tatum was the first woman and first African-American General Manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. She was a City of Los Angeles employee with 43 years of service.
In November 2007, a ceremony was held to rededicate Harvard Park as the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Recreation Center. More than 200 people joined Jackie to reminisce and celebrate her Recreation and Parks career. Almost a year later on November 7, 2008, Ms. Tatum passed away. She is survived by her children, Chandler-Renee and Ricky and sister Marilyn.
With the opening of the Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Center the Department also celebrated the start of the 2009 Summer Swimming Season. The new family aquatic center joined 33 other City seasonal pools that all opened on Saturday, June 20. The Department's 16 year-round pools will also began their summer schedule.

The Department is partnering for the fourth year with Kaiser Permanente for Operation Splash through which qualifying children can receive free lessons. The 2009 commitment of $250,000 will make it possible for thousands of kids in low-income areas to learn how to swim and provided the water slide at Jackie Tatum/Harvard Aquatic Center.

Another partner is the LA84 Foundation, which was established to manage Southern California's share of the surplus from the highly successful 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles; the organization has granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Department of Recreation and Parks for a variety of uses, including aquatic facilities and programs.

For the 11th consecutive year, children age 17 or younger, seniors age 65 or older and the disabled can swim for free at all City pools. Children ages 3-6 must be potty-trained and accompanied by an adult at all times; children under 3 must wear a swim diaper. The charge for adults ages 18-64 will be $2.50; those who have a City Library Card will pay $2.

Seasonal pools will be open daily through Monday, September 7. Residents can contact their nearest pool, or the Department's Aquatic Section at (323) 906-7953. Individual pool brochures can be viewed and downloaded at www.laparks.org/aquatic/aquatic.htm.

Jane Kolb: (213) 202-2694

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