During a pivotal point in its fundraising drive, the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Complex has received a $250,000 donation from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
The Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation, which is the driving force behind the effort to build a modern $17.5 million aquatics complex at Santa Ynez High School for both student athletes and the community, is working to raise the remaining $1.85 million to be eligible for $6.3 million in Proposition 68 state funding.
“When we first learned about the project, our board agreed that the Santa Ynez High School pool was not only in need of significant upgrades, but that the entire valley could benefit from having an elite community pool complex,” said Raul Armenta, vice chair of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians’ business committee, at a Nov. 15 project update for the community at Santa Ynez High.
“As a tribe, we are committed to making a difference, and we take great pride in partnering on projects that benefit our community and our students,” he said. “We commend the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation for taking on this monumental project that will benefit the community at-large.”
The deteriorated 50-year-old Santa Ynez High School pool is beyond refurbishment and doesn’t meet current disability or sanctioned competition requirements.
Lisa Palmer, president of the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation, said rather than simply replace the pool, her group saw an opportunity to create an aquatics park that is open to all Santa Ynez Valley residents, of all ages and all abilities, and available seven days a week.
The foundation formed a partnership with the city of Buellton and the Santa Ynez Union High School District to create a complex that will provide healthy lifestyle, recreational, competitive, therapeutic and water-safety programing.
“We have formed an incredible collaboration with the city of Buellton and the Santa Ynez Union High School District, and through that partnership we have applied to the state for a parks grant of $6.3 million,” Palmer said. “We submitted the application in August and received a site visit (on Nov. 14).”
Plans for the Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Complex include an 35-meter competition pool, a 25-yard active living pool, changing rooms, splash pad, and a multi-purpose classroom and recreation area.
In 2016, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians partnered with Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation to donate $100,000 apiece to help secure a Myrtha warm-up pool that was used during the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials. Myrtha Pools, which provides aquatics facilities for the Olympic Games and world championships, builds facilities for elite competitions then sells them at a reduced cost.
The Santa Ynez Valley Community Aquatics Foundation bought the competition pool in 2017, and it’s currently waiting to be put in the ground.
For more information about the aquatics complex and how you can donate to the project, visit syvaquatics.org
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians has donated more than $25 million to hundreds of groups, organizations and schools in the community and across the nation as part of the tribe’s long-standing tradition of giving.
— Veronica V. Sandoval for Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.