The planned $24.4 million Whittier Aquatic Center moved one step closer to reality Tuesday, with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreeding to hire an architect for the project in West Whittier-Los Nietos.

“The residents of unincorporated West Whittier deserve a world-class aquatic center, and that’s what I plan on delivering,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said.

NAC Architecture Inc. was selected to develop construction documents for the center at Pioneer High School. It is proposed to include an outdoor, Olympic-size 50-meter by 25-yard competitive swimming pool, a 25-meter by 25-yard practice pool and a pool building with offices and classrooms.

Swim lessons, exercise classes, junior lifeguard training, water polo and diving are among the proposed programs.

Funding for the project comes from Proposition A Safe Neighborhood Parks county excess funds and a utility user tax, dollars which are typically allocated at the discretion of individual board members.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will operate and maintain the facility under a partnership agreement with the Whittier Union High School District and plans to incorporate a youth employment plan.

The nearest county-run pool is now nearly eight miles away.

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