Following a collapse of the one-meter platform on the diving tower at the Liberty Natatorium on June 24, Liberty University has announced that the diving tower will be completely rebuilt.
"After extensive investigation including some destructive testing where we actually removed concrete to see the structural support inside the concrete, it has been determined that the tower was not constructed per the design engineer's specifications," said Liberty Vice President of Major Construction Dan Deter. "In reviewing all this information and wanting to do the proper and safe thing, we made the decision to remove the platforms and reconstruct completely."
Liberty Planning and Construction made the decision to completely remove the central diving tower, which includes diving platforms at the 1-meter, 3-meter, 5-meter, 7.5-meter and 10-meter heights. Demolition, which began on Monday, will be conducted by the same demolition contractor which removed the Vines Center dome. The tower will be demolished and removed through a portion of the back wall of the Liberty Natatorium. Following complete demolition and removal of the central diving tower, the existing one-meter and three-meter springboards will remain in place near the side of the diving well. Liberty's divers will be able to compete in home meets in one-meter and three-meter springboard events during the 2020-21 season. Construction of the new diving tower will begin in March 2021, after the conclusion of the collegiate swimming & diving season. The plan is for the diving facility to be fully functional in fall of 2021 and ready for the 2021-22 season.
"On behalf of Jessica, Andrew, and our entire swimming & diving program, I want to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment to excellence in the decision to rebuild the tower," Liberty Head Swimming & Diving Coach Jake Shellenberger said. "We are fortunate to have incredible support here at Liberty, and we're humbled to have the opportunity to continue training our divers at the absolute highest level. We look forward to the future and again thank everyone involved for their hard work and eagerness to reconstruct the tower."
The state-of-the-art Liberty Natatorium opened on Dec. 1, 2017 with the Central Virginia Duals, and was dedicated on Jan. 26, 2018 with an official ceremony. The Liberty Natatorium provides one of the best venues for collegiate swimming and diving in the nation, with a Olympic-sized competition pool and separate diving well and seating for 1,400 spectators in a wraparound setting. The diving tower features 1-meter, 3-meter, 5-meter, 7.5-meter and 10-meter platforms. A surface agitator and a sparger system under all three tower columns ensures diver safety while training.
The Liberty Natatorium has hosted top-level regional meets and served as host of the 2019 CCSA Swimming & Diving Championships.
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