Mayan 'First Health Pool' graces Southwestern College's corner lot

Mayan glyphs are a nod to school tradition
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 09:28:15-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- Southwestern College’s new Health and Wellness Center is a few weeks from completion and already redefining the school’s infamous corner lot.  It also includes a nod to an ancient civilization.

Southwestern College art history professor Mark Van Stone, Ph.D. “wrote” the Mayan hieroglyphics that grace the outside of the building.  The three glyphs mean “first”, “health”, and “pool.”


“Basically, they say ‘Health Center,’” said Dr. Van Stone. “There’s probably not a hundred people in the world that can read and write Mayan hieroglyphs.”


The three glyphs repeat around two sides of the building.


“A Maya would come back to life and look at these hieroglyphs.  They would be able to read them and they would be able to say, ‘Nice handwriting,’” joked Van Stone.


Mayan hieroglyphics grace the entire Chula Vista campus.  Van Stone said even the original buildings were designed after an ancient Mayan city.  Their Jaguar mascot is even a revered animal in the Mayan culture, which was last prominent in Mexico 1,100 years ago.


Southwestern’s new $52 million, 75,000 square foot facility will include a gymnasium, three pools, and seven classrooms.  It’s designed for students but it will be available to the public for a fee.


“Makes me feel proud,” said Van Stone. “But also proud of the ancient Maya that they’re being respected.”


The “First Health Pool” is expected to be ready for students in January.