San Pedro’s 1940s-era public swimming pool reopens after total renovation

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After a years-long, $7.1 million restoration project, San Pedro’s fully revamped Hey Rookie public swimming pool reopened on Tuesday.

The restoration project refurbished and brought the 5,500-square-foot pool up to code while managing to hold onto elements of its original design, like the pool’s new tile floor, a nod to its original tile bottom.

The renovations also added some new facilities to the site at 3601 S. Gaffey Street, including a brand new bathhouse, landscaping, and parking, according to a release from the city’s department of recreation and parks.

The renovated plunge is now officially called the Hey Rookie Pool, a longtime nickname for the spot. (It was previously known as the Gaffey Street Pool.)

“Hey Rookie” was a traveling Army show during World War II that was written and produced by soldiers stationed at Fort MacArthur. The show raised $250,000 that was used to help fund construction of the pool, which opened in June 1943.

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After the war ended, the pool was opened to the public and remained so until it was closed in the 1990s over safety concerns. The shuttered pool quickly became a magnet for taggers.

In 2009, the director and curator of the nearby Fort MacArthur Museum won funding to rehab the pool. Work on restoring the plunge didn’t begin until early 2015, and was supposed to wrap up in a year, but the discovery of historic artifacts dating to World War II on the site halted construction for a time, pushing back the pool’s reopen date.

The official rec and parks page for the Hey Rookie Pool doesn’t have much information on it yet, but the Daily Breeze reports that the pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day (September 4).

The pool is expected to remain open year-round, but with adjusted hours for the off-season that will be announced at a later date.

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