Feature Article - January 2010
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Extended Access

Is an Enclosure the Right Option to Add Seasons to Your Facility?

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Lothrop also noted that, in general, the size of the space and the amount of humidity involved (i.e., is it a pool?) are the most important factors in determining what type of enclosure to build. "It's easier to enclose some things than others," he said. And enclosures involving water are the toughest. But there are plenty of manufacturers out there who specialize in enclosures, and lots of designers and architects have experience with these sorts of projects, so it's a good idea to seek professionals with previous practice at building the sort of structure you'd like.

This way you can avoid ending up with a corroded enclosure over your pool—or even a less drastic, but rather annoying situation like the indoor pool Lothrop was called in to consult on. The lighting had not been installed appropriately, "so they had to have the custodian put on a bathing suit, put a ladder in the pool, and change the light bulb from there," he said. "There are some simple things you can miss if you haven't done this before."

More seriously, he also noted that glare from lights or coming through glass walls onto the water can be a problem in enclosed aquatic facilities. Not only does glare make it difficult for spectators to see what's happening, it can prevent lifeguards from seeing below the surface of the water and being able to do their job.

Get Creative: No matter how daunting the project may seem, if you've determined that an enclosure could really help you better serve your community and customers, be bold and resourceful as you look for ways to accomplish your goal. Be inspired by Lindsay, Calif., which is home to the luxurious McDermont Field House, despite being a rather small community.

To start with, they worked their way into just the right spot via a land swap. "This has been about five years in the making, just looking at all the different options and thinking out of the box," Albert said. "It worked out well for the [land's] owners because they found better spot to build houses, and [the Field House was built] right downtown. This develops the community because of all the people who come in…so we get great buy-in from the Chamber of Commerce and community in that regard."

In addition, the Field House project garnered some grant money and redevelopment funding because it used existing structures—the old McDermont orange packing house and cold storage—and expanded them via a new structural steel building, yielding a wooden core with metal structures on either side. "We spent $18 million for the entire project, and in reality it should have cost us lots more," Albert said.

So start surveying the scene—and more importantly, your community members—and before you know it an enclosure may give you the all-year access your facility needs for maximum enjoyment.