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Feature Article - June 2017

Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Facility Enhancements

The percentage of aquatic respondents with plans to build new facilities or make additions or renovations to their existing facilities grew in 2017. While 68.5 percent of aquatic respondents had plans for construction in 2016, for 2017, that number has grown to 71.6 percent. Aquatic respondents were more likely than those without aquatics to be planning construction. Less than two-thirds (64.5 percent) of non-aquatic respondents said they had plans for construction.

Aquatic respondents were more likely than those without aquatics to be planning changes at their existing facilities, while those without aquatics were more likely to be planning new construction. More than half (52.3 percent) of aquatic respondents said they are planning renovations, compared with 45.8 percent of non-aquatic respondents. And 31 percent of aquatic respondents are planning additions, compared with 30 percent of non-aquatic respondents. On the other hand, 29.1 percent of non-aquatic respondents are planning new construction, compared with 28.2 percent of aquatic respondents.

Aquatic respondents' average budget for construction grew 20.2 percent from 2016 to 2017. In 2016, aquatic respondents were planning to spend an average of $3,975,000, while 2017 respondents are planning to spend $4,776,000. This is 29.4 percent higher than the average construction budget for non-aquatic respondents, at $3,691,000. However, non-aquatic construction budgets increased more sharply between 2016 and 2017, with a 25.3 percent increase, from $2,945,000 in 2016.

The top 10 aquatic features covered by the survey that are most commonly found among aquatic respondents' facilities include:

  1. Pool lift and accessibility equipment (found among 69.6 percent of aquatic respondents' facilities)
  2. Automatic chemical feeders (67.7 percent)
  3. Diving boards (42.1 percent)
  4. Zero-depth entry (37.8 percent)
  5. Waterslides (36.8 percent)
  6. Water play structures (33.4 percent)
  7. Splash pads (23.5 percent)
  8. UV disinfection systems (22.1 percent)
  9. Lazy rivers (14.5 percent)
  10. Saline chlorination systems (11.5 percent)

Aquatics respondents from park facilities were more likely than others to include: zero-depth entry, waterslides, water play structures, splash pads, UV disinfection systems, lazy rivers, poolside cabanas, solar pool heating, wave pools, and surf simulators.

Respondents from schools with aquatics were more likely than others to include pool lifts and accessibility equipment, and diving boards.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to include saline chlorination systems and ozone systems.

Aquatic respondents from Ys were more likely than others to include automatic chemical feeders.

One-quarter (25 percent) of aquatics respondents said they had plans to add more features at their facilities over the next few years, down slightly from 2016, when 27.1 percent had such plans. Aquatic respondents from community sports and recreation centers were the most likely to be planning additions. Some 35.4 percent of community center respondents with aquatic said they would be adding features. They were followed by aquatic respondents from parks (26.7 percent), camps (24.6 percent), Ys (24 percent), health clubs (21.3 percent) and schools (18.8 percent). Aquatic respondents from colleges were the least likely to be planning to add features, with just 10.1 percent reporting that they had such plans.

The most commonly planned additions in 2016 included splash pads (33 percent of aquatic respondents with plans to add features will add them); water play structures (27.9 percent); and UV disinfection (27 percent). More respondents in 2017 than in 2016 are planning to add: water play structures (27.9 percent vs. 25.5 percent); UV disinfection (27 percent vs. 24.8 percent); zero-depth entry (21.9 percent vs. 21.3 percent); and automatic chemical feeders (14.2 percent vs. 11.9 percent). (See Figure 41.)

Aquatic respondents from parks were more likely than those from other types of facilities to be planning to add: splash pads, poolside cabanas, ozone systems, diving boards, surf simulators and wave pools.

Aquatic respondents from Ys were more likely than others to be planning to add zero-depth entry, waterslides and lazy rivers.

Aquatic respondents from camps were more likely than others to be planning to add pool lifts and accessibility equipment, solar pool heating, and saline chlorination systems.

Aquatic respondents from schools were more likely than others to be planning to add UV disinfection systems and automatic chemical feeders.

Aquatic respondents from community centers were more likely than others to be planning to add water play structures.

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