Penn State has chosen Baltimore-based design firm Cannon as the architects for a massive upgrade to the McCoy Natatorium, according to the official University blog.
The existing Penn State pool was considered a great facility in 1967 when it was built, however in the 44 years since, it has become outdated and insufficient to meet the needs of the 44,000 strong student body, let alone the varsity swim programs.
The current facility features an indoor 6-lane 25-yard pool, a shallow-water 6-lane, 25-meter pool, and a separate dive tank. Penn State also has an outdoor 50-meter pool, but even that is ancient – built in 1968.
Now, the Nittany Lions will accelerate the program resurgence mode that they’ve been in the past few years with the addition of a first-class, 50-meter indoor facility. Besides providing top training opportunities for their athletes and a greater availability to their student body, they are hoping to take back the Pennsylvania High School State Championship meet, which they controlled until Bucknell opened the brand new 50-meter Kinney Natatorium in October of 2002.
The ability to get more swimmers on campus should help Penn State take better advantage of the local swimming community, which has become one of the strongest in the nation in the past few years. Most years, the state’s top swimmers leave the borders to attend college, but they will now have a program that will be better able to meet the needs of elite recruits.
Among other aquatics facilities designed by Cannon are the temporary $3.5 million Brown “Aquatic Bubble” (home to the swimming and water polo teams while their massive new $25 million facility is being built), the Flickinger Natatorium at Erie Community College, the Unitersity of the Redlands, and George Mason; as well as broader rec center projects from several major universities including Alabama, TCU, Minnesota, and Arizona State.