Mojave residents can officially say goodbye to the Pool Building on Poole Street (No Relation).
The Mojave Air and Space Port Board of Directors voted on Tuesday to rename the structure after CEO and General Manager Stu Witt, who spearheaded the renovation of the building where military pilots once underwent emergency water egress training.
The Stuart O. Witt Event Center will host its first public gathering next month when the Antelope Valley Board of Trade holds its Business Outlook Conference on Feb. 21.
After an extensive series of renovations, the Mojave Air and Space Port’s Pool Building on Poole Street (no relation) has begun hosting events. Last week, it played host to a team of wranglers taking a group of 100 mules through Antelope Valley to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. (The mules stayed outside.)
The Pool Building was used for training aviators when the spaceport was a military base. Pilots were trained in a swimming pool in how to egress from their aircraft in the event of an unscheduled water landing.
The pool was filled in long ago, lying buried under the concrete floor. The spaceport has renovated the old building as a community center to host all-hands meetings by tenants and other activities.
During the renovation, workers found the signatures of aviators on the wooden support beams that hold up the roof.
Officials decided to renovate the building because neither the spaceport nor the town has any structures where large groups can gather. The building adds value to locating businesses at the desert spaceport.
Officials have been exploring locating a health club in part of the structure for use by tenants and selling the naming rights to the building.
The East Kern Airport District Board of Directors has authorized Mojave Air and Space Port officials to spend up to $600,000 on improvements to Building 137, otherwise known as the pool building.
The funds will pay for interior wood refurbishing, a fire suppression system, heating and air conditioning, two restrooms, insulation, electrical work, and permits. This work is estimated to cost $460,000, with a management reserve of $140,000, according to information provided to board members last week.
The spaceport is renovating the structure to be used for large events and gatherings. Currently, the desert facility lacks any large, enclosed buildings in which to hold such activities. Plans call for the facility to be used by the airport and its tenants.