The Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center has made quite the splash in the community with some monumental events over the last few years. The vision was to bring the swimming world back to South Florida, and that vision is now a reality. With the recent demolition and construction of all new swimming pools that meet the international swimming and diving competition standards, Hensel Phelps has opened a world of possibilities for swimming, water polo and artistic swimming competitions. The exciting addition of the United States’ first 27-meter dive tower, which includes nine platform levels and combines three sporting events (springboard diving, platform diving and high diving), is sure to create memories and historical accomplishments that will last a lifetime. Included in the major renovation was a grandstand building with bleachers, a ticket office, concessions, locker rooms, a weight room and more.
World Champions Take a Dive
As the first-of-its-kind dive tower came to completion in June 2022, the City of Fort Lauderdale hosted a media day to highlight all aspects of the new dive tower and the facets of diving as a sport. World champion high diver Steven LoBue and 2020 Olympian Brandon Loschiavo, along with members of the Fort Lauderdale Dive Team, USA Diving’s High-Performance Squad and Red Bull Cliff Diving were in attendance for the media day event.
A Princely Visit
In January 2023, the City of Fort Lauderdale welcomed Monaco’s princely family, their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, to celebrate the completion of the world-renowned Aquatic Center. Their Serene Highnesses played a key role in the multimillion-dollar revitalization project, as they each have personal ties to the cause. Prince Albert II is a 2011 gold medallion International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) honoree, and his uncle even served as the ISHOF president in the 1980s. Princess Charlene, an Olympic swimmer for South Africa in 2000, works to save the lives of children by teaching them to swim and to raise awareness of water safety thanks to the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
The Community Celebrates
Just like the final leg of a race, the grand opening ceremony was nothing short of spectacular. The City held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on January 28. Many were in attendance including locals, Olympians, members of the dive team and community members to witness this great event. The ceremony included a warm welcome from the mayor, remarks from the commissioner and special appearances by Olympians and World Champions. The International Swimming Hall of Fame put on a dive challenge that left the crowds speechless, as they performed the first ever seven-person synchronized dive off the tower.
The Dive Tower Receives Design Awards
The Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center has already taken home three design awards. The dive tower won a local American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honor Award at the AIA Fort Lauderdale Design Awards 2022 Gala, highlighting the project’s impact on the field of architecture and design.
The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) awarded Hensel Phelps a 2023 PCI Design Award in the Building Award category. The dive tower received the award for Best Custom Solutions for a precast concrete system that included 96 unique components installed to construct the 27-meter (88.5-foot) high, multi-platform, dive tower. The dive tower also received an honorable mention for its All-Precast Concrete Solution. Having overcome many design and fabrication challenges, the dive tower is one of a kind in both design and engineering. The use of glass-fiber-reinforced concrete (GFRC) architectural panels achieved the curved architectural aesthetic while meeting the stringent hurricane code.
Congratulations to the team members involved in delivering a project that will stand the test of time, and with EXCELLENCE.