In 1998, George Mason University opened the $11.2 million, state-of-the-art Aquatic and Fitness Center, which is the home to the school's men's and women's swimming and diving teams. The 68,000-square foot facility is an exciting addition to the University as it is intended not only for student-athletes, but for all members of the Mason community.
The Aquatic Center was named as a 1999 Facility of Merit by Athletic Business magazine and represents one of the most important facility improvements ever for the athletic program and the University.
The Jim McKay Natatorium, the best in the conference and one of the best on the East Coast, features a 50-meter Olympic Pool, 25-yard exercise pool, diving well, sauna, spa and a fully equipped 3,500-square foot fitness gallery. The depth of the water in the 50-meter pool ranges from 7' to 13' 5", which allows for fast competition and has resulted in 71 total records set by participants at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships over the past eight years.
The pool is extremely versatile and with its movable bulkheads, it accommodates simultaneous uses such as lap swimming, classes, synchronized swimming, scuba diving and water polo. With the 25-yard exercise pool available as well, the athletes have extra space to warm-up and cool-down.
The Aquatic Center recently underwent renovation and expansion that addresses the increased demand of a growing student population at Mason. An additional 27,000 square feet of space provide a new focal point for campus recreation.
The addition increased the fitness space by adding a large, multi-level cardiovascular, strength training and free weight workout area. New space was also added for aerobics and group fitness classes, team locker rooms, visiting team locker rooms, storage, intramural and club sport offices and massage therapy.
Many renovations and improvements necessary to address and accommodate the current trend in aquatic and recreational facilities took place in the construction. 3,200 square feet were converted to multi-purpose space for swim meets and group fitness classes, while the locker rooms were enlarged, the sauna was relocated, the sound system improved, and material finishes in the hallways, lobby, and offices all contributed to the sparkling touches added to the facility.
Not only does the Aquatic Center provide numerous aquatic opportunities for campus life, it enables Mason to host world-class swimming events, as well as provide the community with a superb recreational, instructional and training outlet. The facility has hosted the CAA Swimming and Diving Championships for the past 10 years and will continue as host in 2010.