The City of Irvine and USA Water Polo announced a partnership this week with the goal of building a new aquatic center in the California city in time for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Irvine City Council voted 4-1 in favor of the state-of-the-art aquatic center during its Great Park Board and City Council meeting on Tuesday, which will become home to USA Water Polo’s national teams and national programming.
However, it’s important to note that nothing is 100 percent at this point.
City Manager Oliver Chi told the OC Register that “nothing about this agreement sets anything in stone per se, but it provides the staff with direction as it relates to how we should be thinking about designing this facility moving ahead.”
USA Water Polo announced a $12 million commitment to the project on Thursday, which will cover the cost of the organization’s “exclusive use areas” including the national team locker and weight rooms, as well as subsidizing water polo-specific elements that will allow the facility to host training in preparation for the Olympic Games.
The facility is estimated to cost anywhere from $50 to $80 million, and is targeted to be located in the western sector of Great Park. That is roughly four miles south of the Woollett Aquatics Center, which has hosted several high-level swim meets including the 2018 U.S. National Championships and is home to Irvine Novaquatics
Under the partnership agreement, USA Water Polo would get exclusive use of 10,000 square feet of the facility, plus priority in scheduling.
The City of Irvine will own and maintain the center, with a majority of its usage dedicated to civic programming, including swim lessons, Irvine Swim League, and aqua aerobics.
“We are delighted that the City of Irvine has approved the new aquatic center in collaboration with USA Water Polo, which we are confident will be a great asset to the City of Irvine and its residents,” said Christopher Ramsey, the CEO of USA Water Polo.
“We are grateful for the City Council’s consideration of this initiative and are ready to help get the center up and running in time for the LA28 Olympic Games.”
The lone Council member who voted against the agreement, Larry Agran, reportedly expressed concern over the exclusivity of USA Water Polo’s use of the facility, and is “wary that the agreement would spurn the needs of residents wanting to use the pools for recreation,” according to the OC Register.