Ventilation issues will keep the Natatorium at Kansas State University closed through the fall 2020 semester and the university will begin plans to close the aging facility permanently within three years.
The on-campus indoor swimming facility was closed in March when K-State went to limited operations status. The decision to keep the Natatorium closed for the upcoming semester was made following an assessment of all campus building ventilation systems as part of the university’s reopening process.
“Due to the ventilation issues identified at the Natatorium, the university has decided to keep the facility closed this fall,” said Jeff Morris, vice president for communications and marketing. “A decision on its use during the spring semester will be announced later.”
The Natatorium opened in 1975 and is operated by K-State Facilities. It is used by students, faculty and staff; UFM Community Learning Center; USD 383; and the Manhattan Marlins, a local swim club, through programs offered by UFM and K-State Recreational Services. Refunds will be given to those who purchased Natatorium Recreational Services memberships, and arrangements have been made for the Global Campus/UFM Scuba class to move to Junction City. UFM community swim classes are canceled for the fall semester.
Morris said while the university understands the inconvenience the closing is causing, the cost of maintaining the Natatorium is behind the decision to close it within three years.
“A 2018 engineering study identified $4 million in needed repairs,” Morris said. “While the fees assessed to the various users of the facility are enough to cover the direct costs for its use, the university also must spend an additional $150,000-$200,000 a year on utilities, supplies and maintenance and repairs. It’s just no longer fiscally viable or safe for the university to continue its use.”
USD 383 and the Manhattan Marlins swim club will be notified about the university’s short-term and long-term plans.
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Kansas State University photo