OCCC is closing their gigantic aquatic center

occc pool

I guess you know you’re getting old when venues built for the Olympic Festival are now dated and obsolete…

Earlier this week, Oklahoma City Community College announced it will be closing the school’s aquatic center at the end of August. The one time “state of the art” venue was constructed for the 1989 Olympic Festival and has hosted several big swim meets over the years.

Here are the details via Swim Swam:

The Oklahoma City Community College 50-meter pool will close at the end of the summer of 2015, the school’s president Paul Sechrist announced today. That will end the pool’s 25-year run as a center piece of swimming in Oklahoma.

An email from college president Paul Sechrist  said that the pool would close on September 7th, after the Labor Day weekend, but a notice posted on the door to the facility Wednesday said that it would close on August 31st.

Sechrist said that the pool was close to its “functional and physical obsolesce,” and that “without significant investment, it’s only a matter of time before the aging infrastructure experiences a catastrophic system/mechanical failure.”

Sechrist cited $280,000 per year in annual maintenance, and a architecturally-generated estimate of $6 million to repair.

The pool was originally built for the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival (not the same as the Olympic Games) as an outdoor facility, and enclosed in 1991. It includes a 50-meter long competition pool, a separate diving well, and a full complement of diving boards and platforms. The facility seats 1,000 in the stands plus an additional 500 on deck.

In case you were born in the 1990s and were not around for the Olympic Festival, it was basically a minor league Olympic-style competition for up and coming US athletes. Looking back on the event today is kind of like remembering your first relationship from high school. At the time, it was such a big deal, but now that we’ve aged, matured and had a lot of Big League City NBA sex since then, we realize how silly it all was.

Here’s a video of the opening ceremonies at a sold out Owen Field:

By the way, I guess another sign you’re getting old is when you feel the need to explain the 1989 Olympic Festival to your younger blog readers. FML.

Anyway, as a graduate of Oklahoma City Community College and a proud member of the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame, I’m not sure what to think of this news. On a positive note, the students at OCCC will no longer smell like chlorine when they get home from class. That will be nice.

Of course, there are some major drawbacks. The best thing about being an OCCC student was being able to lie to girls from other schools and tell them you only went their because they offered you a swimming scholarship. I guess that lie will now become a thing of the past.

Also, what are they going to do with a gigantic empty swimming pool? If they’re smart, they’ll turn it into a gigantic indoor skateboard facility. Not only will that be a great recruiting tool for potential community college students, but it can double as a venue for when / if  Oklahoma City hosts the X-Games Festival in 2019. It will be such a big deal.