North Florida University Athletics has announced the construction of a new on-campus training facility, which will be the women’s swimming team’s first on-campus training facility since 2013.
The construction of this new pool, along with the completion of the Cooper Beach Volleyball Court in February, brings UNF Athletics up to the Title IX requirement that the men’s and women’s programs receive the same level of service, facilities, supplies and etc.
Our swim team is SO excited for the amazing facility coming to campus!
— UNF Athletics (@UNFOspreys) September 2, 2020
The facility will include a 50 meter long, 9 lane pool, an LED score-board, and three buildings with workspace for lifeguards, a changing area, restrooms, pool equipment and pool storage, and a swim team locker room. The depth of the pool and whether or not it will have diving equipment has not been made public.
The previous team training facility, the Andy W. Sears Natatorium, was a 50 meter by 25 yard pool that featured a 12 foot deep diving well. The Natatorium functioned as the UNF campus pool for 26 years, until it was closed down in 2013 due to an overwhelming amount of repairs.
Since then, the UNF Ospreys have commuted to local high school pools for practices. They swam at Episcopal High School for 2.5 years, and then moved practices to The Bolles School (an 11 mile drive from UNF campus.) The closure of the Andy W. Sears Natatorium effectively cut the Osprey women’s diving program since neither of the local pools have diving wells.
Under head coach Ian Coffey, who was hired in 2014, the Ospreys placed 5th at the 2020 CCSA Conference Championships, edging out Campbell by 6 points, even without divers. This was an improvement from their 7th place finish at the same meet in 2019. Last season was also the first time in 7 years that UNF swimming defeated Georgia Southern.
The CCSA Championships include scoring in both 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, with the platform competition being exhibition-only.
UNF Vice President of Finance and Administration Shari Shuman first promised the construction of an outdoor, Olympic-sized pool during the deconstruction of the old facility in 2015. In August of last year, UNF officially hired Borrelli + Partners, an architecture and design firm, and Ajax to oversee construction of the pool.
The UNF Capital Improvement Fund provided a guaranteed maximum price of $8.26 million for the construction of the new pool, which is scheduled to be completed by June 2021.