Mike Rose Aquatics Center

A One-of-a-kind Aquatics Center in the Mid-South

Conceptual drawing of the renovated pool interior

Through a partnership of the University of Memphis, Memphis Tiger Swimming, Splash Mid-South, YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South and the Rose Foundation, a one-of-a-kind aquatics center, named for Memphis businessman and philanthropist Mike Rose, will be developed that draws upon a robust aquatics program in the heart of Memphis to promote water safety and enrich community health among diverse populations. Renovation of the existing swimming facility on the University of Memphis campus, the first in 40 years, will resolve the existing capacity and structural issues to greatly benefit the Memphis community for generations to come.

Your investment in the Mike Rose Aquatics Center will ensure that everyone in the Mid-South has access to affordable swim instruction. To get started with a gift that will be remembered forever, contact Joanna Curtis in the development office at 901.678.5274 or jecurtis@memphis.edu.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why does the University need a new aquatics center and how will the renovations impact the Memphis community?

The existing pool has been in continuous use since the 1970s, serving the campus and the larger community with physical education classes, swim club competition, lifeguard training, swimming lessons, and recreational swimming. In addition to supporting our University students’ recreational activities throughout the years, the pool has been a learning lab for our College of Health and Sport Sciences.  The last updates were made to the facility in the 1990s.  

The fully renovated, modern Mike Rose Aquatics Center will be an asset to Memphis for decades to come. The Center will feature a Myrtha stainless steel pool system. The larger and deeper pool will have a moveable bulkhead to allow for different training and competition lengths. A new water filtration system, chlorine system, pumps, and drains will create a healthier environment for the hundreds of children who will take part in swim lessons and aquatic programs ranging from competitive swimming to water polo.  The facility will also have increased spectator seating, making it an attractive venue for regional and national swim meets. 

The Mike Rose Aquatic Center will fulfill a vision sparked by the late Mike Rose and nurtured by the Rose Family Foundation. In partnership with organizations like Splash Mid-South, YMCA, Memphis Tiger YMCA Swimming, Shelby County, the City of Memphis and many others, this beautiful facility will become a regional hub for community water safety programs, with the goal of reversing the high drowning rates in our city and introducing more diverse athletes to the sport of swimming.

Where did the funding for the aquatics center come from?

This project is a public-private partnership. The total cost is $13.5M. Two components of the project totaling $7M were paid for with state capitol maintenance funds: replacement of the Recreation Center roof and repairs to the pool area, including a new HVAC system, water pumps, water filtration systems, overflow tanks, lighting, spa, pool resurfacing, deck upgrades, water treatment systems, ADA lift and electrical wiring and controls. An additional $6.5M from Shelby County government and individual, corporate, and foundation donors will fund the installation of a new, larger deeper pool, a new entrance, additional seating, and more.

What’s the status of the aquatics center renovations?

Already, a new roof has been installed on the facility, as well as new HVAC and lighting. The Office of the State Architect has approved proceeding with the final phase of the project, which we expect to take 12 months to complete. The new stainless steel Myrtha pool will be installed in early 2022. 

What is the scope of the renovations?

Planned renovations include:

  • Installation of a new, longer pool consisting of one body of water divided by a thermal bulkhead to have two different water temperatures. The variable temperatures will allow us to accommodate both swim lessons/learn-to-swim programming and competitive training and meet hosting in the same body of water.
  • New pool pumps, multimedia filtration, UV pool system sanitation, and HVAC for a healthier swimming environment (both water quality and air quality).
  • Improved lighting and new sound panels, video boards, and audio system.
  • Increased seating to make the facility eligible for training and for regional swimming competitions.

Will the University of Memphis still manage the aquatics center once revisions are complete?

Although the Mike Rose Aquatics Center will serve the greater community, it will still be a facility of the University of Memphis. We will continue to operate and maintain it.

Will alumni and the community still have access to the aquatics center?

Yes. This project is intended to the community, including our alumni, more access to the aquatics center through additional programming and enhancements.

Will the pool be open during construction?

The pool is currently closed for construction, which is expected to take 10-12 months. Project reopening is Summer 2022.

Why is the University still fundraising for the aquatics center? How can I contribute to this project? Are there special naming opportunities still available?

Gifts to the aquatics center project will enhance the amenities we can provide to create an enjoyable user experience for all. There are a limited number of naming opportunities still available but hurry, they won’t last long. To see a list of naming opportunities or to make a contribution to the Mike Rose Aquatics Center, visit this link


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