PAUR Brown Home Brown Home Brown University Office of Relations Home

April 27, 2007
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

A University Statement
Smith Swim Center Update: Reopening the Facility Is Not Feasible

University officials and consultants have determined that the Smith Swim Center, closed since mid-February, will not be reopened due to serious and irreversible deterioration in the strength of the heavy timbers that support the roof structure. Russell C. Carey, interim vice president for campus life and student services, and Michael Goldberger, director of athletics, sent the following message to individuals and groups that have used the facility.

Brown University Home
Media Relations Home
2006-07 Release Index

April 27, 2007

We are writing to provide you with an update on the status of the Smith Swim Center.

The swim center was closed earlier this year as a precautionary measure after the discovery of several problems in the building’s roof system. Our primary concern was – and remains – the safety of our students and members of the local community who use the pool and the squash courts. An extensive evaluation of the facility to determine the extent of the problems has taken place. This has been a high priority for the University and we have conducted this work as quickly as possible. The conclusion of that review is that there has been a slow but serious and irreversible deterioration in the strength of the heavy timbers which support the roof structure. The condition of the roof, as a result, is beyond reasonable repair and it is not feasible to reopen the facility.


The University has been reviewing various alternatives given this information, including the costs of repair of the existing facility and preliminary exploration of the costs of a new swim center. While no final decisions will be made until the Corporation is able to fully discuss this matter at its May meeting, it is clear that the costs of repairing the existing facility are prohibitively high and not cost-effective in light of the age of the existing pool. Options for replacing the squash courts are also being discussed.

Arriving at a long-term solution that is in the best interests of the University and our students is a high priority. Similarly urgent is the attention we are devoting now to developing plans for our programs as well as recreation and fitness users of the swim center for next academic year. All of our teams have, under the leadership of head coaches Peter Brown and Jason Gall, adapted with grace and resolve to the challenges of this year. Our priority for the next academic year is to enable our student-athletes to sustain their training at the high level they deserve. We recognize the difficulty this situation imposes on our student-athletes, and we are committed to supporting them fully during this period of time, including the provision of training trips and other opportunities to enhance their experience. Coaches Brown and Gall are in the midst of identifying local natatoriums for practice and competition next year, and we will be communicating more details about that to team members shortly. They are confident that plans can be implemented which will sustain the programs and provide our students with the best possible athletic and academic experience. The University will provide the necessary additional resources to ensure strong programs for our student-athletes.

Please feel free to contact either one of us with questions, concerns, or suggestions. We will provide you with further updates as soon as they are available. We greatly appreciate your support of Brown and Brown athletics.


Russell C. Carey
Interim Vice President
Campus Life and Student Services

Michael Goldberger
Director of Athletics

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.