The Douglas J. Wall Aquatic Center (formerly the Natatorium) opened in November 1983, just in time to house the inaugural Northern Arizona University women's swimming and diving team. Thirty-one years later, the facility is considered a world-class training facility for national teams worldwide.
The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team will have a new home beginning in 2016 as construction for the new North Campus Athletic and Recreation Complex began in May 2014. The 120,000 square foot complex will replace the current Wall Aquatic Center and will feature an Olympic-size swimming pool and separate diving well with platform in addition to serving as a home facility for the NAU tennis teams. For more information regarding the North Campus Athletic and Recreation Complex, click on the link at the top of the page.
The current Wall Aquatic Center is an Olympic-size swimming and diving complex, which is open not only to the NAU swim team but also to the public, students, faculty and staff as well as the NAU water polo club teams. It also houses a small weight room, featuring free weights and a Universal weight machine. The carpeted mezzanine level, which overlooks nearly the length of the 50-meter pool, can accommodate 350 spectators.
The 704,000-gallon pool features two one-meter and two three-meter diving boards, a 13-foot-deep diving tank, six 25-meter lap lanes (seven feet deep), eight 50-meter lap lanes (four to 13 feet deep) and a three-foot therapy pool area as well as handicap access.
The building itself is 45,000 square feet, including underground tunnels around the pool walls-complete with underwater viewing, mechanical and storage rooms, locker rooms, offices, a classroom and 10,000 square feet of pool deck.
The swimming and diving complex and the 7,000-foot elevation have attracted Olympic medal winners such as Pablo Morales, Summer Sanders, Lea Loveless and most recent medalists Gary Hall Jr., Anthony Ervin and Dana Vollmer to train in Flagstaff. In 1990 the High Altitude Challenge was held in the Wall Aquatic Center, featuring former world-record holders Matt Biondi and Tom Jager. Several national teams used the facility in the year prior to the recent Beijing and London Summer Games to enhance their training regimens.
The facility added a bulkhead in 2000 to enhance its versatility as a world-class training facility. The 2000-01 season-opening meet vs. San Diego State was the first to use the bulkhead in competition, producing the first collegiate meet in Flagstaff held on a 25-yard course.