Award Winner - May/June 2004
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Allegan High School Aquatic Center
Allegan, Mich.


S u b m i t t e d    b y:

tmp associates, inc. in bloomfield hills, mich.

35,000 square-foot aquatic center addition

Project cost:

Quick tour:

  • 25-yard, eight-lane competition pool and diving area with spectator seating for 300
  • Leisure/community pool features a therapy/recreation pool with zero-depth entry, pool toys, kiddie slide and a current channel
  • Family locker room, wet classroom, recreation offices and community recreation locker rooms

Until recently, if you lived in Allegan, Mich., and wanted to go swimming in any season other than summer, well, you were pretty much out of luck.

"The Allegan community has never had any kind of indoor pool at all," says Kevin Harness, assistant superintendent of Allegan Public Schools. "This is a first pool for the Allegan community and Allegan Public Schools. We were due. So, we figured we waited this long, we better do it right."

Now that the town has finally taken the plunge, the resulting aquatic facility—built as an addition to Allegan High School—has been worth the wait.

"We looked at the pool as a community facility from Day One; that's why we went with two pools," Harness says. "It offers us the luxury of a P.E. class in the competition pool at the same time as having a seniors aquatic class in the leisure pool, and their paths never cross during the school day."

Two completely separate pool environments—a competition pool and a leisure pool—with separate locker facilities allow multiple aquatic options at the same time. The results are positive for the public, who paid for the additions with a successful bond issue, and for the students, who benefit from not only increased athletic offerings but professional-caliber facilities.

"There was a commitment by the community, which paid for it, to doing a real first-class venue," says Timothy Casai, principal in charge of the project with TMP Associates, Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "There was an eye toward first-rate materials that are really low maintenance."

In terms typical facility usage, about two to three high-school P.E. classes and one to two middle-school P.E. classes use the pools daily, with a few elementary-school classes coming in once or twice a week. Also included are aqua aerobics classes, lap swims and open-swim times. There is even a growing, youth swim club, destined to be a precursor to a swim team.

"If you've never had a pool, you can't have a swim team," Harness says of promising swim club, which now has about 150 young members who are happy to take advantage of the new facility. Other residents seem just as thrilled with the swim center.

"It's not real often you have a community member come up to you and say, 'I was wrong to vote against this; this facility is great,'" Harness says. "That's pretty positive for us."

Speaking of great, the entire glass-enclosed natatorium is flooded with natural light and framed with timber construction for a warm, inviting environment, with the leisure pool borrowing light from the competition pool thanks to a glass wall. Care was also taken to create a custom sound system and a balanced acoustical environment for sound clarity.

While all the pool decks and tanks are tile, the leisure pool boasts a dramatic mosaic tile tiger filling the shallow play pool.

"We definitely wanted to have a point of pride for the community," Harness says. "We hit the home run with this project."

J u d g e s '   N o t e s

"The contrast of wood, tile and glass in the natatorium compliment each other to create a soft, bright and colorful environment."

kenneth ward

"A very comfortable-feeling pool environment is created with external light and wood ceiling."

james kemper

A s s o c i a t e d    F i r m s

Construction manager

The Skillman Corporation

civil engineer

Spalding Dedecker Associates, Inc.

mechanical/electrical engineer

Peter Basso Associates, Inc.

structural engineers

Schrenk & Peterson Consulting Engineers

aquatics consultant

Bill Robertson Pool Design, Inc.

acoustical consultant

BAI Associates, Inc.

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