Main content
New pool on Quad offers 'destination' university amenity

Emory University announced April 1 that it will build a new Olympic-size pool on its historic Quadrangle. This is an artist's depiction of the concept.

Emory University will build a new Olympic-size pool on its historic Quadrangle as another "destination" amenity for all students in keeping with the "resort-style" living concept of Clairmont Campus.

The pool will enhance the Mediterranean flavor of the Quad's Italianesque Italianate architecture of red-roofed, marble-clad buildings. Classical statuary from the Michael C. Carlos Museum will decorate the facility, and Caffé Antico will provide poolside service.

Students and faculty were asked in a recent survey how they used the Quad. Overwhelmingly they answered, "Mostly for sunbathing." In a follow-up study, a focus group comprised mostly of members of Emory's water pushball team suggested the pool idea, said Campus Life Associate Dean Avril Premier.

The pool is being built to Olympic specifications and will provide Emory's nationally ranked swimming and diving teams and its water pushball team with additional practice space.

An Academic Resource, Too

Professors are also developing interdisciplinary courses to maximize use of the new facility.

"This promises to be a remarkable academic resource, too," said Carlos Museum founding director Marcus Aurelius. Ancient Romans built structures around open spaces with water elements, he explained. "Students can experience Rome without leaving Atlanta."

It's expected that faculty members across campus will begin to develop new interdisciplinary courses to maximize the use of the new facility to enhance the educational experience of Emory students.

The design emerged from a competition among Emory students enrolled in a dual degree program with the Georgia Institute of Technology. Architectural renderings call for sun decks on all adjacent buildings and a water slide from the fourth floor of the Administration Building to the flagpole.

'Water' is an Emory Theme

The new pool also ties in with Emory's exploration of WATER, a series of creative projects that examine "the many ways humans and water interact." The pool will draw water from an artesian well, a kind of natural spring. The spring was rediscovered under the steps of Candler Library at the east end of the Quad during renovations to the building in 2000.

"We did some research in the university archives, and sure enough, records of the original Candler Library construction showed that a spring had been capped when the library was built in 1926," said Campus Planning Director Mark Spitz.

Heated pool water will be provided in colder months from rain barrels installed under the south-facing eves of buildings all over campus. Water collected in the barrels during the year will soak up heat during the summer months for use during the colder months. The sun decks' wireless network will use power from state-of-the-art solar panels to be added to all buildings on the Quad and from a new windmill farm slated for the turn lane of Clifton Road, in keeping with Emory's commitment to sustainability.

Commencement ceremonies, traditionally held on the Quad, will be moved across campus to Lullwater Preserve. "We thought about actually holding Commencement in the new pool using floating lounge chairs," Spitz said. "But the Office of Insurance and Risk Management shot down that idea. We're just lucky they allowed the high dive and the swim-up bar."

University archivists say the new pool may actually reflect the university's original vision because documents indicate President Dooley wanted to include a natatorium on the Quad when the Atlanta campus opened in 1915. He later resorted to using water guns to achieve his goals.

Recent News