Student Aquatic Center Making Splash over Anticipated Mid-December Opening


Photo of the new Student Aquatic Center.

The new Student Aquatic Center on the Southeast Missouri State University campus.


Nov. 17, 2007 – Southeast Missouri State University students and Student Recreation Center members are expected to be swimming by mid-December in the new $8.5 million Student Aquatic Center on the Southeast campus.

“What a great facility we think this will be,” said Troy Vaughn, Southeast director of Recreation Services. “It’s very unique and has features unlike any other facility.” 

The Center boasts two aquatic amenities that no other campus recreation aquatic center has to offer, he said. The first is a 40-foot wide, 14-foot high bouldering wall that spans the west side of the facility’s leisure pool. The wall, constructed by the Cost of Wisconsin Company, was formed upon dozens of concrete fabricated panels mounted on a steel cage. The process took more than four weeks to complete, and the results are impressive, he said.

“You would think that we went out and chipped tons of rock from a local quarry or cliff and hauled it into the facility. It’s amazing how much it looks and feels like real rock,” Vaughn said, adding the surface is painted to match the color of local southeast Missouri and southern Illinois bluffs and cliffs.

Once patrons climb the full length on the wall, they fall into a seven-foot deep leisure pool. Patrons also will be challenged to climb the wall with four separate waterfalls coming down on the rock as they climb.

“The challenge will be great, but we wanted to simulate a real-life climbing experience as much as we could,” Vaughn said. “I think we are very close to that.”

The facility’s second one-of-a-kind feature is an indoor zip line, which also spans the leisure pool. Having the capacity of sending a patron along a wire for about 20 to 25 yards, the zip line is designed to give a small “thrill” to those patrons who will try it, Vaughn said. Patrons will, essentially, hold onto a bar and push themselves over water. Patrons will release and fall into the water upon completion of the ride.

In addition to the bouldering wall and zip line, the Student Aquatic Center also will have a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool for competitive swimming, a 12-person spa, state-of-the-art men’s and women’s locker rooms, three family changing rooms, an aquatic “multi-purpose” room, offices for lifeguards and professional staff, and chemical and control systems that boast 21st century aquatic technology.

Artificial palm trees and vegetation also will be installed in several rock planters throughout the facility. Upon completion, the Student Aquatic Center is expected to have a tropical feel to it.

“I think this is going to be exciting for the students and members of our facilities,” Vaughn said. “This is something totally different that many have not seen before in this area.”

The facility is being financed through a dedicated student fee assessed to Southeast students beginning with the 2006-2007 academic year. Additionally, memberships for faculty, staff, Southeast alumni and community members are also available at very competitive prices.

Operational hours for the facility will vary depending on the time of year. Regular open recreation swimming hours will be: 5:30-7:30 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-7 p.m. Saturdays; and 1-9 p.m. Sundays. Break hours will vary. Hours will be listed on the Department of Recreation Services Web site at Not all amenities will be open at all times.

Many new and improved programs also will be added to the Recreation Services line-up beginning with the spring 2008 semester, Vaughn said. New programming users will see will be:

  • Swimming lesson programs for youth and adults
  • Intramural water basketball
  • Intramural water polo
  • Intramural swimming meet
  • New sport club opportunities
  • “Friday Night Family Swim” – a program open to all community members for free for their families
  • Water aerobic and fitness classes
  • Master Swimming opportunities
  • Birthday parties for youth
  • “School Lock-Ins” or “After Prom” celebrations in the facility
  • Late Nite alternative programming for Southeast students
  • “Dive-In” movies

For more information about the new Student Aquatic Center or to inquire about membership or rental possibilities, please contact Chad Sierman, assistant director – aquatics, at (573) 651-2105 or

Photo of the whirlpool spa.

The facility boasts a 12-person whirlpool spa for use of students and members. Costruction photo taken Nov. 18, 2007. 

Photo of the bouldering wall at the new Student Aquatic Center.

Looking west toward the bouldering wall, the Student Aquatic Center will house the first such wall concept in the world. Users will begin and end their wall “experience” from 7-feet of water.Costruction photo taken Nov. 18, 2007. 

Photo of the lap pool at the new Student Aquatic Center.

A 6-lane, 25-yard lap pool will be ideal for fitness swimmer wanting to swim laps or as a practice “home” for competitive swimming teams. The Southeast Aquatic League has already contracted to use the facility upon opening.Costruction photo taken Nov. 18, 2007.