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After nearly five years without a community pool, Artesians will begin to see construction on a new, one-of-a-kind aquatic center this Friday.

While Artesia Aquatic Center will be publicly owned, it is the private sector that has stepped in to make the project possible. EOG Resources, HollyFrontier Corporation, Burnett Foundation and Chase Foundation are diving in head first to move the project forward.

EOG and HollyFrontier each have committed $1 million; Chase and Burnett foundations are contributing $500,000 apiece. Also jumping in are Doug Brooks and Paul and Elizabeth Maupin with personal donations to be among the first in the private sector to contribute to this significant project. These contributions are in addition to a $1 million donation by Artesia General Hospital and a $2 million commitment from the City of Artesia to get construction started.

The Artesia High School Natatorium that served Artesia’s swimmers for many years was demolished in 2013 after severe and irreparable leaking made the pool too difficult to maintain. Understanding the need for a public swimming facility, interested local citizens formed a private foundation in early 2017 to create a partnership with the public sector, develop a design, and raise money to build the project.

“The comments from every initial donor were along the same lines. They all agree this pool is necessary to the quality of life in Artesia, where our companies operate, employ people, and support families. It is critical that our youth learn to swim and that people of all ages have the opportunity to make swimming a part of their recreation and health,” said Sandra Borges, president of Artesia Aquatic Center Foundation. “All of our donors agree that an aquatic center is important to a vibrant community.

The Artesia Aquatic Center is planned in two phases, the first reaching $10 million of a total anticipated $19 million for both phases. Phase I includes an outdoor recreation pool in the shape of Artesia’s Bulldog logo, a zero-depth entry toddler pool with a customized play structure representing the Illinois #3 drilling rig of 1924 that moved oil forward as one of Artesia’s primary economic drivers, three waterslides, and a 14,284-square-foot building with bathrooms, changing rooms, a party room, and concession area.

Phase II will include an indoor competition pool with cooler water temperature for land or lap swimming and a smaller indoor pool at a warmer temperature for swimming activities, exercise, therapy, and games. Phase II also includes locker rooms for competing teams and spectator seating. Capacity for Phase I will be approximately 500 persons; with second phase completion, capacity will reach more than 1,000.

Phase I completion is planned for Memorial Day Weekend 2019. A start date for Phase II is undetermined and dependent on additional fundraising and finalizing of an arrangement between the City of Artesia and the Artesia Public Schools for ownership and management.

“We are eternally grateful for EOG Resources, HollyFrontier, Burnett Foundation, Chase Foundation, Mr. Brooks, and the Maupins for being the first to commit to the fundraising process from the private sector,” said Borges. “Artesia is the best example in the state, and perhaps the entire country, of public-private partnership and how to get things done. Artesia Aquatic Center is another perfect example of the wonderful relationships our private sector willingly supports for the benefit of our community and it residents.”

The fundraising effort for Phase I construction is ongoing. Any funds collected over the required amount for Phase I will be rolled over to Phase II.

For information on how to donate, email [email protected]

  • PY Foundation

    Burnett Foundation recently contributed $500,000 toward Phase I of the Artesia Aquatic Center. Burnett Oil has an office and operations in the Loco Hills area and employees living in and around Artesia. Pictured from left are Burnett Foundation Executive Director Neils Agather with AACF board members Hayley Klein, Sandra Borges and Johnny Knorr. (Courtesy Photo)

  • 5-20-POOL-EOG

    EOG Resources Division Manager Reese Lantrip, center right, stands with members of the AACF board of directors, including, from left, Tyler Deans, Johnny Knorr, Hayley Klein, Sandra Borges and Greg Marrs. EOG was among the first from the private sector to contribute to the aquatic center project with a $1 million donation. (Courtesy Photo)

  • 5-20-POOL-Holly

    HollyFrontier Corporation was one of the first in the private sector to contribute to the construction of the Artesia Aquatic Center (AAC). The company contributed $1 million to help kick off Phase I. AAC Foundation board members recently travelled to HollyFrontier headquarters in Dallas, Texas, to accept the donation. Pictured from left are AACF board members Sandra Borges, Hayley Klein and Johnny Knorr with HollyFrontier CEO and President George Damiris, Senior Vice President of Refining Jim Stump, and Vice President of Refining Operations Tom Shetina. (Courtesy Photo)