Feature Article - June 2015
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Facility Enhancements

Respondents whose facilities include aquatic elements were more likely than respondents without aquatic to report that they have plans for construction over the next three years. Some 69.1 percent of aquatic respondents had such plans in 2015, up from 65.8 percent in 2014, while 62 percent of non-aquatic respondents had construction plans. More than a quarter (26 percent) of aquatic respondents said they will be building new facilities, nearly a third (32.7 percent) will be making additions, and more than half (50.4 percent) will be making renovations.

The average construction budget for aquatic respondents was $4,507,000, 33.1 percent higher than the average for non-aquatic respondents.

The top 10 features currently found among aquatic respondents' facilities include:

  1. Pool lift/accessibility equipment (found at 69.3 percent of aquatic respondents' facilities)
  2. Automatic chemical feeder (69.3 percent)
  3. Diving boards (46.6 percent)
  4. Waterslides (39 percent)
  5. Zero depth entry (38.2 percent)
  6. Water play structures (34.1 percent)
  7. UV disinfection systems (20.3 percent)
  8. Splash pads (19.8 percent)
  9. Lazy rivers (13.2 percent)
  10. Pools
ide cabanas (13 percent)

This is the first year since 2011 that the percentage of respondents who have pool lifts dropped. In 2014, 75.5 percent of respondents reported that their facilities included pool lifts.

Most features were more commonly found among parks respondents' facilities than others. Aquatic respondents from parks were the most likely to include: waterslides, zero-depth entry, water play structures, UV disinfection systems, splash pads, lazy rivers, ozone systems, wave pools and surf machines.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to include automatic chemical feeders and poolside cabanas. Aquatic respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to include pool lifts and accessibility equipment. Aquatic respondents from schools were the most likely to include diving boards.

More than a quarter (27.5 percent) of aquatic respondents reported that they have plans to add more features at their aquatic facilities over the next three years, up from 24.3 percent in 2014. Respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to have such plans. Some 40.9 percent of YMCA respondents said they would be adding more aquatic features to their facilities over the next three years. They were followed by camps (40.6 percent) and parks (27.5 percent).

The most commonly planned additions include splash pads (31.3 percent of aquatic respondents plan to add them), UV disinfection (25.9 percent) and water play structures (24.4 percent). (See Figure 39.) More respondents in 2015 than in 2014 are planning to add zero-depth entry (20.7 percent vs. 19 percent); and poolside cabanas (19 percent vs. 12.5 percent).


Respondents from camps were the most likely to be planning to add many features, including: splash pads, water play structures, pool lifts and accessibility equipment, zero-depth entry, poolside cabanas, waterslides, automatic chemical feeders, solar pool heating, saline chlorination systems, ozone systems and wave pools. Aquatic respondents from parks were the most likely to be planning to add lazy rivers and surf machines. Respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to be planning to add UV disinfection systems. And respondents from community centers were the most likely to be planning to add diving boards.