COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M swimming & diving programs have announced the ground breaking of a facility renovation project to upgrade the current team spaces. Construction has begun on the new Anne & Henry B. “Hank” Paup ’70 Aquatic Center that has come together as a product of tremendous fundraising by 12th Man Foundation. While the Aggies will remain in the same location, the facility project will provide significant upgrades and additions that will allow the teams to be in a central location and feature new locker rooms, coaches offices, an athletic training room area, dryland training space and fueling station.
“We are really excited for this facility. Excited for what it means to our student-athletes and that so many former students are a part of it’s happening,” said head men’s swimming coach Jay Holmes. “Texas A&M does such a great job in athletics facilities. Anything that gets built here is done first class and immediately becomes an icon for that program. Once completed, I know everyone who gets to be in it will appreciate what a great addition it is for A&M Swimming & Diving. Much thanks to everyone who helped, but especially Anne and Hank. Their vision of it has driven this project since it began. It’s going to be a great addition for us.”
“I’m very excited about the new facility renovation. I’d like to thank the 12th Man Foundation, all of our donors and our athletics department,” said head women’s swimming coach Steve Bultman. “Our men's and women's teams will have first class locker rooms, a team room, a dryland training room; our athletic training room will now be at the pool and the coaches offices will be there too. We are also excited to have an amazing entryway where we can show off team accomplishments and achievements from individual stars. This will be a huge help to our teams as well as recruiting.”
The most noticeable change will be the addition of a highly-visible exterior lobby that will provide student-athletes, coaches and fans with a designated entrance, separate from that of the main REC. The lobby will showcase A&M’s history and accomplishments, featuring graphics and a large, built-in trophy case.
The team locker rooms will see a significant upgrades as each student athlete-will have a solid-surface locker with wet and dry storage areas. The locker rooms will be accessible off the pool deck and feature a wet storage area upon entry. The men’s and women’s locker rooms will be separated by a shared 840 square-foot team lounge and fueling station. A large sectional sofa, TV, tables and chairs will fill the lounge area, while a center island, custom snack display, refrigerator and separate pantry on the other side of the room will put a plethora of healthy snacks and refueling options in arms-reach for student-athletes on the go.
A 1,000 square-foot, rubber flooring athletic training room and rehab space will be added in the new Aquatic Center. It will include a hydrotherapy room, space for rehab equipment, athletic trainers offices, a physician’s exam room and TVs. The hydrotherapy room will feature two custom in-ground hot and cold plunge pools.
The Aggies will add a dryland training space that will include a 20’x25’ in-ground foam pit with three diving boards, as well as a 16’-6”x42’ tumbling area with a gymnastics spring floor. A 10’x17’ in-ground trampoline pit and a 12’x15’ above-ground landing mat with two diving boards will be added for top-level diving training.
Coaches offices, coaches locker rooms and visiting locker rooms round out the project. Seven coaches offices as well as a conference room will be added off the entryway to the building and put the coaches and student-athletes under the same roof for the first time. The visiting locker rooms will see renovations similar to the A&M team locker rooms, allowing more designated space for visiting teams and club teams.
“When I was on the swimming team at Texas A&M (1966-70), I could never have imagined having the opportunity to contribute back to the swimming & diving program with this expansion to our current world-class natatorium,” said Hank Paup, Class of 1970. “The addition of locker rooms, coaches offices and training facilities will greatly enhance the resources our student-athletes need to train and compete at the highest level. Anne and I are honored to be in a position to share some of our lifelong blessings in order to lead on this project.”