Construction on the new facility began in October 2005. The $24.3 million aquatic center will serve as new home of the swimming and diving teams when completed, replacing the Student Aquatic Center and Ray Bussard Intercollegiate Pool that opened in 1967.
The Jones Aquatic Center, which is located adjacent to the existing Student Aquatic Center, will be a first-class complex capable of hosting the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships, as well as national and international events. The location of the new aquatic center will give the Tennessee swimmers and divers the luxury of training at one of the few universities in the country that has three full-size 50-meter pools within 200 feet of each other.
"To have one complex that includes one outdoor 50-meter pool, an indoor 50-meter pool and the new 50-meter competition pool will, in our opinion, give Tennessee the leading aquatic facility in America," said Tennessee men's head coach John Trembley. “This in itself is spectacular. But the real measure is the amount of support the athletic department and the community are giving to Tennessee's swimming and diving programs."
The facility is named in honor of Allan Jones, who made a $4 million challenge gift as part of Tennessee's STEP UP Capital Campaign for athletic facilities.
The facility will be highlighted by an eight-lane 50-meter by 25-yard competition pool. With a depth of 10 feet from end to end, the competition pool will be one of the fastest collegiate pools in the country. A separate competition diving well is slated to feature five platforms with heights varying from one to ten meters. Also, there are plans for three one-and three-meter springboards. Other amenities include permanent seating for 1,800 spectators with a spacious deck area to accommodate up to 2,000 additional individuals, teams and other personnel comfortably during meets.
“It will be really important to have a recruit walk into this facility. It’s really first rate,” said Tennessee women’s head coach Matt Kredich. “I think it will give us the tools we need to host sectional, regional and national meets and give great athletes the chance to come and have a great experience whom may not have normally come to Knoxville or the University of Tennessee.”
Also included in the new facility will be a weight room, training room, and the University of Tennessee Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame. The complex will clearly be one of the finest collegiate swimming and diving facilities in the country.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information & Public Relations