UCSB moves foward on designs for aquatic facility

UCSB Athletics is proud to announce the hiring of Blackbird Architects for the conceptual designing of a future intercollegiate aquatics facility on campus. The planned site is behind the Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) building and will face east towards the recreation fields.

Last fall, athletics and recreation student groups agreed on the site of a future athletics aquatics facility, enabling the creation of an additional recreation field (Rob 3 project), which is currently underway. The site was approved by the Campus Planning Committee last spring. UCSB’s campus is extremely active with a large percentage of the student population participating in recreation year round.

Blackbird will design a 65-meter pool facility to replace the nearly 60-year old Campus Pool located behind the new Social Science and Media Studies building.

Blackbird’s designs were funded by private athletic’s donations.

“We had a great response from some of the world’s most talented firms,” said UCSB Director of Athletics Mark Massari. “In the end, Blackbird was on top and we are so excited about the designs for our new aquatics facility – one that fits our community and campus well and allows us to enjoy greater success.

“I’m equally excited about the `Walk of Champions’ work, which will become a road map to share our critical needs with donors. We are a campus of champions. The title fits.”

In addition to the new aquatics facility, Blackbird’s scope of work will include partial designs on several athletics and recreation-shared venues as part of a comprehensive project titled “Walk of Champions.”

“I’m thrilled that our firm has been selected for this exciting project,” said Blackbird’s Ken Radtkey. “As an alum, I am looking forward to giving back to the UCSB community. We’ve done other projects for the University, but doing this athletics project feels like a homecoming.

Radtkey is a former member of the UCSB swim team. In fact, a middle distance freestyler, he captained Gregg Wilson’s team in 1983.

“This is a very visionary project for athletics and the Campus Planning Committee,” he said.

The “Walk of Champions” is a concept intended to connect athletics and recreation areas with the academic center of campus. Beginning at two locations, Harder Stadium and the Recreation Center, the “Walk” moves along the facilities, intersecting at the new aquatics site, continuing on to campus and finally ending at the Thunderdome.

Along the “Walk of Champions” are most athletics and recreation areas with a wide-range of vital upgrades, improvements and maintenance needs including: priority development of a new athletics aquatics venue; Meredith Field at Harder Stadium; the softball and baseball complex; the relocation of outdoor basketball courts; an additional field for club sports; a tennis complex; Pauley Track; Rob Gym refurbishment and Thunderdome enhancements.

A new aquatics facility will strengthen perrenially successful UCSB swimming and water polo programs which have won 38 conference titles, the school’s first national championship (1979 men’s water polo) and produced several Olympians, led by 2008 gold medalist Jason Lezak.

The “Walk of Champions” will serve as an all-inclusive capital campaign to build the new athletics aquatics facility and improve all athletics and recreation-shared venues. The plan is already underway with an event planned on February 5th featuring legendary Los Angeles Dodger Tommy Lasorda to raise funds for baseball venue upgrades. Facility improvements are essential to UCSB Athletics “Dare to Be Great” initiative launched last spring.

About Blackbird Architects The Santa Barbara-based firm is led by founder and former Gaucho swimmer Ken Radtkey. Blackbird has been recognized nationally for design excellence in several master planning design competitions. Blackbird’s local work has included Westmont College Master Plan, Westmont College Gym Renovation and UCSB Arbor Expansion. Blackbird will utilize collaborators Behnisch Architects, Tender Creative and aquatics consultant Counsilman-Hunsaker for UCSB’s athletics pool and Walk project.