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

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The pool had been closed since the 1990s

A photo of the reopened view with the ocean in the background.
The reopened pool offers views of the ocean. Photos by JuanCarlos Chan.
Courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks

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

The 5,500-square-foot pool was brought up to code but it held onto elements of its original design, including a new tile floor, a nod to its original tile bottom.

New facilities were also added to the pool at 3601 South Gaffey Street, including a new bathhouse, landscaping, and parking, according to 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.