Following suit of their Pac 12 rivals USC, the University of California, Berkeley, has announced plans to construct a new $15 million aquatics facility to supplement the existing Spieker Aquatics Complex.
This is a renewed sign of commitment for an aquatics program that has been one of the most successful in the country for the last five years: an about-face to early in the millennium when many feared for the future of the swim teams.
The new pool will be an athletics-only facility, which will open up more time in Spieker for the general student body.
The project will be funded by Cal Aquatic Legends, an alumni donor group; that group, in fact, has negotiated for full control over the construction of the facility, including working with architects and supervising the construction on land that has been granted by the university.
The new facility would have a 50-meter by 25-yard outdoor pool, as well as a new platform diving tower. Cal has sent Kahley Rowell to the NCAA Championships as a platform diver the last two years, despite her having to use Stanford’s facility to train.
This pool won’t be quite as elaborate as the remodeled aquatics center at USC that broke ground late last year, but it will be able to seat 500 spectators and should be more than enough to host dual meets and water polo matches (though the school has declared its primary function as training). It will, however, put Cal into the ranks of schools with multiple 50-meter pools on campus alongside programs like Stanford and Tennessee.
Construction of the new pool is expected to take 12-15 months to complete. The new facility will be located on the very southwest corner of campus, replacing an old parking lot, and about a block away from Spieker.