Construction on a new $60 million recreation and aquatic center to feature two pools, full-size gymnasium and host of other amenities is officially underway in San Bruno.

Officials broke ground Friday on the project, which will replace the existing San Bruno Swimming Pool and Veterans Memorial Recreation Center in San Bruno City Park with a new 48,000-square foot facility expected to be completed in 2023.

“This will bring all kinds of benefits and will become a community hub far beyond just a recreation center,” said San Bruno Community Foundation Executive Director Leslie Hatamiya. “It’s a really exciting time for the community.”

In addition to the pools, one indoor and one outdoor, and gymnasium, the two-story building will include a community lounge, lobby, indoor walking track, group exercise room, fitness room, large community hall, meeting rooms and a catering kitchen.

The bulk of the project’s funding, $50 million, comes from a $70 million restitution payment from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. following the Crestmoor gas pipeline explosion in 2010. 

Based on community input gathered by the San Bruno Community Foundation, a nonprofit established to manage the restitution payment, it was decided the community center would be the best use of the funding.

Jim Ruane, who was San Bruno mayor during the PG&E explosion, now serves as vice president of the San Bruno Community Foundation.

“After the explosion we went through an awful lot here,” Ruane said. “I’ve always said that something good has to come out of this tragedy, and the rec center is just one of these huge pieces of good.”

After the explosion, which killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes, PG&E agreed to pay the $70 million in restitution without litigation. The utility was ultimately convicted of six felonies, fined $1.6 billion by the Public Utilities Commission and agreed to pay $565 million to settle victim’s lawsuits. 

The explosion was determined to be the fault of a defective seam weld in a pipeline that had been described as seamless by PG&E reports.

“This will be a physical thing that the community can see that is a positive that came out of this tragedy,” Hatamiya said. 

Additional funding for the project will come in the form of $4.5 million paid by YouTube as part of the corporation’s campus expansion proposal. Another $1 million will come from settlement funds paid by PG&E to the city, $900,000 from residual money from the funds set aside to rebuild the Crestmoor neighborhood and the rest from various city funds.

The project will be completed by Solano county builder Lathrop Construction Associates.

A video with a virtual walk-through of the planned building is viewable on the city’s website under the “our community” tab.

(650) 344-5200, ext. 105

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