After 46 years, the Campaign for Kalamazoo College has decided that it is time to move on from the current natatorium to a brand new state-of-the-art facility. Many say that it’s about time.
“The current facility is literally crumbling beneath us,” says swim coach Kathy Milliken. “We’ve been asking for a new one for quite some time.” She is being completely serious when she says the current natatorium is falling apart. Coach Milliken and her players have observed that Facilities Management is in the natatorium at least once a week managing one of the many constant problems.
One of the primary problems with the natatorium has to do with the extreme level of chloramines. Chloramines are chemicals often found in pools with poor filtration systems. A large level of chloramines can be detrimental to swimmers because it can cause airways to constrict and lead to struggles with breathing. “It causes health issues, sometimes we literally can’t breathe,” says senior captain Cam Wasko’15. Often times swimmers have to step outside in the middle of practice or a meet to get some fresh air and clear up their breathing.
When the current facilities are a thing of the past, many members of the swim community feel that with a new natatorium will come further success. Cam Wasko’15 says “We have everything; academics, coach and team. All we need is the right facility.” A new natatorium would provide the team with better practices, better event turnout, and better recruiting.
The College has announced plans for a new natatorium, with the only remaining problem of development being the $13 million price tag. Vice President for College Advancement Al DeSimone says, “The directive for this project is to raise all the money through donations, not to do any borrowing.”
This is a policy the College has used in the past. They elect to raise all the funding through donations from alumni, parents of alumni, parents of students and other friends of the college. This happens instead of borrowing money from banks.
“So far we have raised $5 million of the $13 million,” says DeSimone. “We’ve only been raising money for about ten months now.” DeSimone says the plan for the next few months is to offer anyone who has ever been apart of the swimming community at K the chance to contribute to the new natatorium.