McCoy Natatorium may be known for its history, dating back to 1967, but it’s certainly not known as one of the best university pools in the nation. Penn State University announced new plans to make changes to this facility and build out a Natatorium with a 10-lane, 50 meter pool. The university has spent the past 17 months developing these plans across 23 venues, but the Natatorium is a highlight that all current, past and future swimmers will be excited about.
“These facility resources will greatly assist in our vision of creating conditions for success for our student-athletes as we prepare them for a lifetime of impact. We look forward to engaging with our key stakeholders to most effectively and efficiently activate this plan,” Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics, stated in a press release.
The Nittany Lions’ current practice and competition facility does not include an indoor 50-meter pool, though they do have an outdoor 50 meter. It’s currently 50,400-square feet with plans to nearly triple the size making it 130,000 square feet. Another upgrade that will benefit the program are the plans to build a separate diving area from 1, 3, 5, 7.5, and 10-meter boards and platforms. This will make a huge difference for the diving program that has never had access to platform boards inside McCoy.
The plans for the new facility also highlighted two levels of spectator seating 2,500 people and a new media facility. This will give the university opportunity to host national level meets for both swimming and diving.
In 2011, Penn State announced renovation plans to McCoy Natatorium but they were suspended indefinitely after the university was hit with $60 million in NCAA sanctions related to the university’s response to child abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The money for the Natatorium was originally supposed to come from three sources: $30 million from student activity fees since it would have been open to student use, $25 million from the athletic department and $10 million from donations.
This time around, Intercollegiate Athletics is hoping to raise a minimum of $120 million in philanthropic gifts to start the first five venues. While Penn State has developed a 20-year plan to upgrade 23 venues, the Natatorium falls in a “priority project” and will be built in the initial five years of the plan. Construction on any facility isn’t expected to begin until 2018-19 at the earliest.