Oct. 22, 2001
A diving exhibition that includes an acrobatic plunge by a trumpet player and a ceremonial first lap are among the highlights of Friday's (10/26) dedication ceremony for the new $17.1 million Boilermaker Aquatic Center.
The ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m., is open to the public, and tours of the facility will begin at 10 a.m.
The event is part of Discover Purdue, a yearlong effort to highlight the university's programs and possibilities.
"Our generous friends and alumni helped build the new Boilermaker Aquatic Center to propel our swimming and diving programs to be the best," says Morgan Burke, director of intercollegiate athletics. "To be the best, you have to have among the best facilities, the best coaches and the best student-athletes.
"The completion of the aquatic center puts in place the last piece of the puzzle to move water sports at Purdue into the upper echelon of the Big Ten and nation."
Completed this past summer, the $17.1 million Boilermaker Aquatic Center opened for use in August. The "dotted I" swimming and diving pools - meaning the 8-lane, 50-meter swimming pool aligns with the 17-foot-deep diving well in the cavernous center - are home to intercollegiate, educational and recreational swimming on campus.
The facility seats 600 spectators, and the balcony overlooking the pools can accommodate an additional 800. The center is one of four Big Ten venues large and well-equipped enough to host conference swimming and diving championships.
Purdue President Martin C. Jischke praised the donors who supported the project, as well as university planners.
"This is the kind of synergy that is a hallmark of Purdue University," Jischke says. "We have successfully addressed the needs of a wide range of customers - students, faculty and staff, alumni, and the swimming and diving programs - in this beautiful new facility."
The competition pool is named for Doris Z. Holloway. She and husband Robert, Purdue alumni from Louisville, Ky., provided a leadership gift for the center. Doris Holloway is a 1947 liberal arts graduate, and Robert Holloway is a 1948 humanities graduate.
"Our treasured friends, among them the Holloways, have enriched the campus and the athletics program in ways that are hard to measure," Jischke says.
The facility's innovative design includes moveable bulkheads that allow staff to configure the Holloway Pool so that instruction, recreational and fitness swimming, and team practice can take place simultaneously.
"The Boilermaker Aquatic Center definitely qualifies as a multiuse facility," says Thomas Robinson, vice president for student services. "We will gain maximum benefit from the facility."
Above the 500,000-gallon diving well are diving towers of 1, 3, 5, 7.5 and 10 meters, in addition to two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards. A bubbling device at the bottom of the well softens the landings for divers in training.
The Boilermaker Aquatic Center boasts a three-story atrium where banners one day will hang, a classroom and six offices, four locker rooms, a meet management office and computer room, and a weight room for intercollegiate swimmers.
The aquatic center adjoins the Recreational Sports Center, which serves the fitness and recreation needs of students, faculty and staff, and alumni in Greater Lafayette. Students are members of the sports center by virtue of their student activity fee payments, faculty, staff and alumni have the option of joining for an annual fee.
Friday's dedication ceremonies will include a diving exhibition, music and a children's flag show, followed by remarks by Jischke, Burke, Bob Holloway and Brenda Shea, president of Purdue Student Government. Eight swimmers will then take ceremonial first laps in the 50-meter pool. The swimmers represent the varied clientele the aquatic center will serve, as well as past, present and future intercollegiate swimmers and divers.
Keith Carter, a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic swim team and former All-American swimmer for the Boilermakers, will be in Lane 1. Next on the starting blocks will be Burke, director of athletics since 1993 and a leader in the fund-raising efforts to build the new center. Current Boilermaker swimmers, junior Lindsay Lange of Oak Harbor, Ohio, and sophomore Ian Lehman of Peru, Ind., round out lanes 3 and 4. Junior Kari Miller of Brentwood, Tenn., and junior Chris Trout of Indianapolis, will hit the water on behalf of all student users of the Recreational Sports Center and aquatic center. In lanes 7 and 8 will be retired faculty members and avid fitness swimmers Harold Woodman and Martha Chiscon.
Aquatic center tours begin at 10 a.m. at the facility's north entrance, behind the Recreational Sports Center and south of Rankin Track and Field. Meter and permit parking are available off West Stadium Avenue and off Intramural Drive.
The aquatic center replaces the Lambert Gymnasium pool, in use for more than 60 years and home to Purdue swimming when Burke was captain of the swim team in 1973. In addition, the 44-year-old Recreational Sports Center indoor pool will be closed as a result of the new facility's opening. When work started on the project in late summer 1999, the outdoor pool that served the sports center was taken out.
"Great things were done in the Lambert pool, but our goals to excel in all sports made a new natatorium a high priority," Burke says. "The new center replaces several aging pools, and in the long run, creating more usable, modern facilities is a wiser investment."