Natatorium at K-State. Courtesy KSU Marketing and Communications.

One of the biggest blows to Manhattan out of the pandemic has been the loss of the use of Kansas State University’s Natatorium.

At a virtual town hall with faculty and staff Thursday, K-State Chief of Staff Linda Cook said the university is in the early stages of conversations with a local committee that includes representatives from the city, USD 383 and the Marlins swim club for a replacement indoor aquatic center.

“They’re coming up with some proposals of some of the existing pools, how they might be enclosed and trying to determine how much support the community would have in Manhattan,” she said.

KSU Foundation President and CEO Greg Willems says no discussions have taken place for a long-term solution to the current facility on campus.

“I think we’d have to begin with the university really thinking about what’s the long term solution, modernizing or renovating the current facility, or a newer facility and then how that fits in with current priorities for our institution moving forward,” he said.

Pandemic-related ventilation issues forced the facility to close in March 2020. Ongoing maintenance concerns created a $4 million backlog in needed repairs. The university announced a permanent closure as a result.

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