By Jessica Benda

Contributing Writer

Another 50-meter competition pool is coming to Heritage Community Park, and Irvine has just found its architect.

The city plans to add the pool — along with a small splash pad for children ages 2 to 12 and amenities — to the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center. Nestled between the public park and Irvine High School, the center is already home to two 50-meter competition pools and a 25-meter teaching pool.

An evaluation team selected PBK Architects out of 14 proposals, and the City Council approved starting a contract with the company at its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 24. The architectural planning and design firm is already responsible for over 40 aquatic centers and 125 sports centers, including Fountain Valley High School Aquatic Center and Yorba Linda High School Swimming Pool.

Services are not expected to exceed $1.15 million, according to the staff report.

Once agreements are finalized, Irvine will begin the approximately one-year design process, with an aim to finalize the conceptual design by spring 2024 and the final design by that fall. Construction has a tentative competition date of summer 2025.

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This will be the center’s fourth pool, which has been on the drawing board since the City Council approved a Parks Master Plan in 2017. The current outline also details 600-person bleachers, including room for a temporary expansion that seats 4,000.

Amid an uptick in the popularity of local water sports, the center has struggled to accommodate the rise in usage requests from both local programs and national competitive events, according to a staff report.

The center is a home base for aquatic activity, including “Learn To Swim,” one of the largest municipal swimming programs in Southern California.

Though recreational swimming is seasonal, reservations for lap swimming, as well as classes and aquatic groups, are available online.