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New Aquatic Center at Saint Thomas Academy

The pool at Saint Thomas Academy opened in 1965, in O’Shaughnessy Hall.  The pool has been utilized to its capacity for 57 years and is home to nearly 30 state championships between STA and Visitation.  In addition to hosting championships for both schools, the pool has also served the community.  The pool has had a great run but now needs to be replaced.

It is time to boldly move into the future by building a new aquatic center for the combined Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation communities.  A new pool that will serve as a place where our student athletes will train and compete and that both schools can utilize for curriculum based initiatives.  Furthermore, this facility will allow competitive swimmers from all over the Twin Cities, from swim clubs and CAA schools, to showcase their talents in what will be the premiere high school aquatic center.

Join Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation School in this effort to build a new aquatic center and propel our facilities into the future.

Thank You

Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation logos

Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation School Receive $3-Million Matching Gift for New Aquatic Center
Family's $4-Million Total Gift is Largest in Schools’ Histories

Saint Thomas Academy and Visitation School today jointly announced an historic $3-million matching gift to help fund a new aquatic center shared by the two schools. This matching gift from the Michel family, spearheaded by Academy alumnus Chip Michel ’67 and his wife Mary, is an encouragement to other donors to give the remaining $3 million needed for the $10-million project. The family’s $4-million total gift toward the project represents the largest gift in the history of both schools. 

As a Cadet, Chip was a member of the swim & dive team for four years and was the team captain his senior year. Chip serves as co-chair of the capital campaign for the new aquatic center. 

“Chip and Mary’s incredible generosity is a testimony to their belief in both schools’ programs,” said Thomas Lee ’85, Vice Chair of the Saint Thomas Academy Board of Trustees. “They recognize the pool where he trained in the 1960s is not representative of the talent of today’s student-athletes and the schools’ high standards.” Since 1938, Saint Thomas Academy has won 15 private school state championships prior to joining the MSHSL and 15 MSHSL state championships since 1995. 

The new aquatic center on the Saint Thomas Academy campus will include a 25-yard pool with eight lanes, a diving board, bleacher seating for 300, and expanded deck space. The schools hope to complete the project by the 2025-26 swim season. 

“We look forward to our student-athletes competing in a state-of-the-art aquatic center,” said Jamie Candee, Chair of the Visitation Board of Trustees. “This facility is befitting of two programs – men’s and women’s – that consistently compete at a very high level.” Visitation has 13 overall state championships with nine of those being consecutive, from 2013 to 2022. 

The current pool, built in the 1960s, had a 50-year life expectancy, with just five lanes supporting fewer than 30 swimmers. Today, that same pool supports more than 130 Visitation and Academy student-athletes. The pool also does not meet today’s minimum depth requirements for diving competitions. 

The Michel’s daughter, Bridget Michel Batzler (Visitation ‘94), has two sons who attended Visitation through lower school and currently attend the Academy: Henry Batzler ’24 and John Batzler ’25. The Michel’s son, Charlie STA ’95, also has a son, Charles, who they hope will be STA Class of 2033. 

In addition to being the training and competition home for the Cadets and the Blazers, the new aquatic center will serve local swim clubs and Catholic Athletic Association schools. During the school day, the pool will be used for curriculum-based initiatives.

For more information on the Aquatic Center or to support the initiatve, contact Mike Maxwell at 651.683.1577.  

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Pledge Form

First page of the PDF file: PoolProjectPledgeAgreement-Fillable1