INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis natatorium will undergo a $20 million renovation that officials said Monday is aimed at keeping it a world-class swimming facility.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie joined other officials in announcing renovation plans for the 32-year-old building that has hosted numerous major swimming and diving events.
IU and the Lilly Endowment will each contribute $10 million toward the natatorium project. The city plans to spend $10 million to improve major streets through the campus on the western edge of downtown Indianapolis.
The natatorium project is to include a new roof and repairs to the heating-and-cooling, pool filtration and other mechanical systems. Most is to be finished before the U.S. Olympic diving trials are held at the 4,700-seat natatorium in 2016.
"The planned improvements will allow the natatorium to provide swimmers and divers of all levels — as well as fans of the sports — with a world-class facility for years to come," McRobbie said.
University officials had been seeking the city's help in paying for natatorium renovations, but some City-County Council members had opposed the city's involvement.
Ballard said the city will, instead, pay for upgrading major streets through the campus to better connect IUPUI with neighborhoods across the White River west of its 30,000-student campus. The street improvements will include grass medians and safer pedestrian crossings, sidewalks and bike lanes.
The natatorium's major events have included the 1987 Pan Am Games and 13 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in swimming, diving, and synchronized swimming.
Leaders of the Indiana Sports Corp., which organizes many of the city's sports events, believe the renovations will keep it among the United States' top facilities, said Allison Melangton, the group's president.
"Now that we know the natatorium is going to be up to speed and be able to be used as a competitive venue to bid with now, we'll be aggressive about pursuing more aquatic events now," Melangton said.