Expectations are high for a competition-level aquatic center being built next to Independence High School in southwest Bakersfield. Kern High School District Board President Phillip Peters was there for Thursday’s official groundbreaking, and says the facility will also feed swim and diving programs at Cal State Bakersfield and Bakersfield College. “…Really start developing this and making use of the facilities we’ve got, not only for our own students but for other people in the community, and hopefully also draw in some tourist dollars.” The Olympic-sized lap pool and diving pool have already been excavated and the Kern Aquatic Center should be open by summer. The $14-million facility will also have locker rooms, bleachers and a snack bar. A second pool is also planned for the future, both are financed by voter-approve Measure K bonds.

Suzanne Grant