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Luther plans $5.9 million aquatics center with competition pool

George C. Ford, CR Gazette –

Luther College in Decorah has selected Opus Design Build of Minneapolis as the design builder for its new $5.9 million aquatics center.

The 17,800-square-foot facility, many years in the planning, will be used by thousands of competitors from colleges and high schools, Luther students and community members. Construction is expected to begin in September and completion is scheduled for May 2013.

Luther College President Richard Torgerson said construction of the aquatics center is a priority for intercollegiate competition, physical education, and fitness and wellness programs.

The facility’s competition pool for swimming and diving will be named the David E.G. and Patricia Miller Natatorium in honor of two Luther alumni who challenged the community to raise money for the aquatic center.

The Miller Natatorium will feature a competition pool with eight lanes of a consistent 8-foot water depth and a 13-foot-depth diving area. The plans for the aquatic center also include a shallow pool for swimming lessons, adaptive physical education classes and water aerobics.

Opus Design Build was the general contractor for the $38 million Cedar Rapids Armed Forces Reserve Center and Field Maintenance Shop. Opus AE Group will serve as architect and structural engineer for the aquatics center, Michaels Engineering will be the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer and Braun Intertec will serve as geotechnical consultant.

Lance Huber, Luther College head swimming and diving coach, said the aquatics center is anxiously awaited on campus.

“The completion of this project culminates years of work, planning and a bit of dreaming,” Huber said. “This will be a place teams want to come and compete.”

Luther swimming and diving teams are perennially among the best in the Midwest in NCAA Division III. Huber said the new aquatic center will boost the program with technologically advanced starting blocks with state-of-the-art timing mechanisms, a larger deck and diving space.

The aquatics center will have seating for 280 spectators, allowing Luther to host larger and more prestigious competitions.

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