|This article is an orphan, as no other articles link to it. (May 2011)|
||This article has no lead section. (May 2011)|
|Cost||$666,000.00 American Dollars|
|Design and construction|
|Main contractor||Frank Messer & Sons, Inc.|
In 1952 there was another new building on Miami University’s already 143-year-old campus. In the year where Miami President Hahne died construction was complete of this new building. But, this building was like none other on the campus. This building was located on the northern end of campus on Tallawanda Avenue. This building was the first swimming pool ever constructed on Miami’s campus. In this state-of-the-art building lay a 25-yard competition swimming pool, a practice pool, a spectating area, a men’s and women’s locker room, and was the first pool in the country with windows to show the outside. The magnificent building was named after once claimed “Miami’s most famous alumni” John Shaw Billings.
John Shaw Billings
John Shaw Billings was born and raised in Switzerland County, Indiana on April 12, 1839. He graduated in the class of 1857 and later earned his M.D. In 1962 he entered the Army Medical Corps. He was assigned to the surgeons general’s office as deputy surveyor. Billings was the supervising constructor of Johns Hopkins Hospital and was also involved in the Carnegie Libraries project. After these events he went to New York, where he consolidated the libraries and agencies that became the New York Public Library.
Billings famous members and events
Another famous man who roamed Billings Natatorium was Raymond Ray. He was Miami University’s 1st swim coach. He coached the Miami Redskins from 1952 to 1974 and was also a graduate of Miami in 1938. He led the Redskins in Billings to a record of 148-89-2 in his 22 years. He coached an Olympic Gold Medalist, 5 All-Americans, and 88 MAC champions. Another key event for both Raymond Ray and Billings Natatorium was the 1955 NCAA Championship. This was the first time and only time an NCAA Championship event was held at Miami. Ray was inducted into Miami’s Hall of Fame in 1978.
The drawings and talked of building Billings Natatorium started around 1948. From a letter from Charles F. Cellarius to Board of Trustees member Wallace P. Roudebush, it talked about the total capacity, cubic feet, and cost of the construction. It showed three schemes for all of these. Some estimated totals were, Seating Capacity: 1,500, Cubage: 1,100,000 cu. Ft, and Cost: 735,000,000. These were pre-estimates of the cost of Billings. From another letter written in 1948 from W.P. Roudebush to John W. Wilcoxon, it was reasoning to why a pool was needed on Miami’s campus. From the letter, it was stated, “Since we have never had a swimming pool or natatorium at Miami University it has not been possible to provide instructional or recreational facilities for swimming. One result of this was that we were greatly handicapped in the conduct of out Navy programs during the war years”. This was one of the major reasons for the construction of Billings. It also gives another total estimate for the cost of the building at 5,750,000. This letter was a key reason why Billings Natatorium got built.
From its construction in 1952 to February 1994 when its last swim meet was held, Billings Natatorium fulfilled the duties well. In 1994 the Recreational Sports Center opened with Nixon Natatorium as the new swimming facility. Today, the Billings building still stands and is the home to the New Chiller Plant. The building was converted into a water treatment and chilling plant for the North end of campus. This was a great place for the construction of the Chiller Plant because of its location and its availability. To some Billings will be remembered as the place of swimming. As today in 2010, it is known as a water treatment plant.
- "Miami University Bicentennial - Reflect on the Past." Miami University. Web. 30 Sept. 2010. <http://www.muohio.edu/bicentennial/reflectonthepast/national_u.cfm>.
- Cellarius, Charles F. "Natatorium Miami University." Letter to Mr. Roudebush. 9 . 1948. MS.Apr
- 1978 Hall of Fame Members." Miami University RedHawks Official Athletic Site. Web. 30 Sept. 2010.
- Roudebush, W.P. "Miami University Secretary, Controlling Board State House." Letter to Mr. Wilcoxon. 12 Apr. 1948. MS.
- "Miami University - Class of 1995 - Remember When..." Miami University - Alumni Association Home Page. Web. 30 Sept. 2010. <http://www.miamialum.org/s/916/internal.aspx?sid=916&gid=1&pgid=1777>.