The University of Wisconsin announced Tuesday plans to build a $26 million competition swimming pool at the Southeast Recreational Facility to hold future Badger swimming and diving meets along with Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association state swimming meets.
Construction to the new SERF design as part of the new Recreational Sports Plan will begin in 2017, and the pool, which is going to be moved to the lower level of the facility, will be completed by 2019.
“This new pool will help us provide top-notch facilities for our student-athletes,” Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a statement. “We have always had a strong tradition of diving and swimming and I am proud that this pool will help continue that tradition for many years to come. We are thankful for the support of our students, the athletic department, and the donors who have made this possible.”
The new SERF pool, though present in the early stages of Rec Sports planning, was not in final version of the plan voted on during the referendum due to concerns about funding. Students had expressed they would not support the pool if it was 100 percent funded by students, and Rec Sports decided not to pursue the SERF pool as they were unsure adequate funding was available.
Now, funding for the pool will be covered through a mix of gift funds and $13 million in student fees, as approved in the March Rec Sports referendum. Beyond $13 million, students will not be asked to provide any additional funding for the construction.
The competition 50-meter pool will feature a platform diving tower and well. There will also be at least 1,500 seats for spectators of swimming and diving events.
The University of Wisconsin Department of Athletics has agreed to be a major contributor to help fund the pool, as a number of donors have pledge their support for the pool project.
“Athletics has always been a good campus partner, and I’m pleased we are going to be able to assist with the development of this pool,” Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said in the statement. “We have good fundraising momentum, but we still have work to do.”