The group forged a public-private partnership with the Santa Barbara Secondary School District and by 2004 had raised $1.2 million. In 2006, another $1 million was donated. The SCCAC board asked that the pool be named the Elings Aquatic Center, after Virgil Elings, whose $1 million contribution, along with a $500,000 gift from his former wife Betty Wells, ensured the success of the project.
Students, community volunteers, donors and SCCAC and School Board members gathered in July of 2007 to jump in the pool for the first time. Said then SCCAC Board Secretary Susan Deacon, “When we started this project seven years ago, I don’t think any of us knew what kind of journey we were about to embark upon. Except for two board members, all of our children have graduated from Dos Pueblos. But along the way, we realized this pool wasn’t just abut our kids – it was a pool for everyone.”
Since its opening, the pool has become the home of champion swim and water polo teams, has hosted a 3rd-grade swim program and an on-going summer swimming lesson program, been the venue for Olympic teams and exists as a community resource for thousands of aquatic enthusiasts of all ages.
The original SCCAC leadership team included Jim and Ginny Kuga, Jim Ranta, Larry Harter, Gary Maxwell, Marion Schoneberger, Peter Neushul, Michelle Wiesen, Britt Ortiz and Susan Deacon.