Laps of Luxury
CGHS Unveils New Natatorium
Writer / Kevin Conrad
A major project on Center Grove High School’s (CGHS) main campus is now a shimmering reality. A 50-meter natatorium, complete with more than 1,000 seats for spectators, a therapy pool, classroom space, and lockers and restrooms for teams and guests, opened for business in July.
“We have so many great facilities here at Center Grove,” says Bill Long, Ed.D., Center Grove Community School Corporation assistant superintendent. “We’ve been fortunate that the board has the vision to allow us to be able to improve existing facilities and build new ones, all without raising taxes. This project has been particularly enjoyable because of the need for expanded space for swimmers, including the physical education department.”
The state-of-the-art venue provides the space needed by all levels of swimmers in the Center Grove programs.
“Just the number of lanes and the amount of swimming space we now have will allow us to grow our programs at all levels,” says Scott Knapp, CGHS athletic director. “We were having 10 to 15 kids in a lane to practice. That will no longer be the issue. Club and high school practice will be able to run simultaneously, yet separately. Just looking at this pool, the attention to detail, the amount of natural light – you can see that every part of this project was designed with the student-athletes in mind. It’s a beautiful place for these kids who put in countless hours to do the work.”
“We know that our youth program, Center Grove Aquatic Club [CGAC], is already growing,” adds Jim Todd, CGHS varsity swim coach. “The tryouts for the club is over 200 swimmers and that doesn’t include the swimmers already on the team. The CGAC is the feeder program for our middle school and high school programs, and as it grows so will the middle and high programs. This is going to help a ton.”
The natatorium was designed by Fanning Howey architectural firm – the same firm that designed the Student Activity Center. Visitors enter the facility into an atrium adorned with graphics depicting the high school’s Mr. Baseball, Mr. Basketball, Mr. Football, and three Miss Softball honorees. Directly off the atrium is the spectator level with seating overlooking the pool. Visitors can travel through the atrium, down a staircase to the pool level where classroom space and locker rooms are located. The area opens into the entrance to the Vandermeer Gymnasium and the high school’s Hall of Fame.
“It flows nicely with the rest of the high school,” Long says. “The graphics just add to a great design, and highlight the achievements of our student-athletes. The pool is gorgeous. Every time I walk in there I am so happy for our student-athletes that they have the opportunity to swim in such a nice facility. The addition of the therapy pool is also something I am very proud to have included in this project. It will allow many students to have the benefit of therapy during the school day.”
“The school corporation has worked hard to provide all of our student-athletes with facilities that match the level of hard work and dedication they exhibit, along with the competition they face every day,” Long adds. “This is the only indoor pool in White River Township, so hopefully it will bring more students into the swimming program and allow the community to use it as well. We know there is interest from the collegiate and state level to use our natatorium for competitive events. We are still in the infant stage of developing more programming that fully utilizes the facility.”
“Big thanks to Dr. Long and all those involved for having the vision in making sure we created a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit the whole Center Grove community,” Knapp says. “I believe having the right people in place, quality coaches, and people invested in building the program at the youth level will grow our programs. I believe that’s the setup we have now. With the new natatorium, we will have the space to welcome this growth.”