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W&L Board Selects Site for New Natatorium

Washington and Lee University’s Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed a recommendation to locate the University’s new natatorium on a site just northwest of Lewis Hall, the School of Law building. The board’s capital projects committee made the recommendation.

The board chose the “Plateau East” site over two others that a task force exploring W&L’s indoor athletic and recreation facilities had considered.

According to the recommendation, the site will effectively mask the size of the structure and “allows it to fit within the campus context better.”

A new 25-meter stretch pool with a diving well would be built on the site as part of plans to overhaul W&L’s indoor athletic and recreation facilities. The pool permits multiple user areas through the use of movable bulkheads. The configuration provides flexibility to accommodate varsity athletic competition, physical education classes and recreational swimming.

Those overall plans also call for a renovation of historic Doremus Gymnasium and the construction of a new facility on the site of Warner Center, the building that opened in 1972 and now houses the University’s swimming pool.

Fund-raising is underway for the indoor athletic complex; the campaign goal is $50 million for the natatorium, renovation of Doremus and construction of a facility on the Warner Center site. The project is part of Washington and Lee’s current campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, which has raised $430 million toward its goal of $500 million. The campaign ends on June 30, 2015.

In addition to the natatorium site, the board also authorized planning to begin on the facility itself. W&L expects the building to contain between 46,000 and 48,000 square feet under one roof. Besides the pool and necessary mechanical support, the facility will include locker rooms, coaches’ offices and a “wet” classroom that allows swimmers to come directly from the pool for evaluation and teaching.

The natatorium will cost approximately $20 million of the $50 million total for the indoor athletic and recreation facilities. Construction will not begin until after the University has raised necessary funds for the facilities.