LONG BEACH, California, February 5. THE Belmont Plaza Olympic pool, the site of two Olympic Trials and several other top-flight competitions, has been officially closed by an order of the Long Beach, Calif., city council Monday.
According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, engineers found the 45-year-old building “a substandard building that is seismically and structurally unsafe.” The pool was closed in January to analyze the possibility of repairing the facility, prompting the men's Pac-12 swimming championships, as well as other collegiate conference meets, to be relocated.
In light of the official closing, the Long Beach City Council is exploring options to construct a temporary pool in the parking lot of the site, similar to what was built for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. That pool will be used while a permanent facility is constructed, either at the same location or nearby. The city council estimates that the temporary pool could cost $4.2 million, while the permanent facility will require between $54 million and $62 million to make it a building that “balances recreational and competitive swimming needs,” according to a city official.
The new permanent facility could house two competition pools, according to the Press-Telegram. One of the pools would be indoors, with the other being outdoors.
The Belmont Plaza pool hosted the 1968 and 1976 Olympic Trials as well as the 1974 and 1978 NCAA championships. Since then, the pool has hosted the Southern California high school championships and various collegiate conference meets. In addition, the largest short course Masters meet in the United States was held there every December.
The pool saw some major records broken there recently. Tom Shields set the current NCAA record in the 200 butterfly in March 2011 with a 1:40.31, and Vlad Morozov set the current national high school record in the 50 free (19.43) in May 2010 at that facility.
Long Beach city council members will be presented with the proposals for the temporary and permanent pools at their Feb. 12 meeting.