Host to over 20 NCAA championship water polo tournaments and scores of CIF-Southern Section final matches, Belmont Plaza Natatorium has been permanently closed. The iconic site was deemed seismically “unsafe” by the city of Long Beach after 50 years in service according to gazettes.com. A replacement facility is being proposed by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Marine Department on February 12 and is estimated to cost between $54 and $62 million.
“The Plaza,” as it’s known by local users, has shut down for unexpected repairs several times in the past decade. It last hosted NCAA water polo championships in 1994, and was replaced by the William Woollett Aquatic Center, a dual-pool outdoor facility in Irvine, for CIF Southern Section tournament matches in the early 2000s. The large indoor facility, uncommon in Southern California, gained a reputation for being one of the loudest venues for high school water polo in California and long served as the home and training pool for Long Beach Wilson High School.