Award Winner - May 2009
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A Place for Everyone

Payson City Aquatic Center & Skatepark
Payson, Utah

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

VCBO Architecture in Salt Lake City

Size: 23,000 square feet

Project Cost: $4.3 million

Quick Tour:

  • Competition pool
  • Leisure pool
  • Waterslide
  • Children's play feature
  • Family change rooms
  • Administrative offices
  • Skatepark


ocated 60 miles south of Salt Lake City and nestled against the foothills of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, Payson has historically been known as an agricultural community, but in recent years, the demographics have shifted and it has become a residential community attractive to young families because of its close proximity to the vibrant economy of Provo, Utah. VCBO Architecture provided a feasibility study for a new recreation center, determining that as the first phase, the city should replace its aging pool, which was built in 1976 for a much smaller population. Completed in 2008, the new pool and skatepark allow the city to expand its public recreation services and provide the community with a modern pool, as well as a state-of-the-art skatepark.

The steering committee for the development helped ensure the project meets the needs of all community members. With input from children, parents, seniors, the local swim team and even physical therapists, the design team settled on a plan that accommodates everyone. Specific input on therapeutic benefits of key features helped inform the design. For example, the current channel is fun for a leisurely trip around the pool, but it also can be used by exercisers looking for a low-impact workout by walking against the current. The zero-entrance leisure pool is accessible to those of all levels of physical ability, and the lap pool includes a lift.

A number of exciting play features make the pool a popular destination for children and their families. The slide tower features a twisty slide and speed flume, while the "lazy river" that encircles the tower provides an exciting way to relax or splash around, passing beneath dumping buckets and a bridge with spray features. The zero-entry splash area features three waterslides and other great spray features for smaller kids. A six-lane competition pool is separated from the leisure pool to maintain a manageable division of the "fun" and "business" sides of the facility.

To attract a different segment of the community, the park also includes an impressive skatepark, designed with in-depth input from serious skate enthusiasts. The members of the city's active youth now have a place to socialize and grind. And while kids of this age group typically assert that they need no supervision, the placement of the skatepark adjacent to the pool allows parents whose younger kids are swimming to also keep an occasional eye on their tween or teen at the skatepark.

The response of the community to the new facility has been overwhelming. More than 1,200 attended on opening day, and daily attendance has approached capacity many times during the summer swimming season.


W H A T   T H E   J U D G E S   S A I D

Creative layout and design of the outdoor amenities. Nice juxtaposition, control and separation of the outdoor program spaces/features in a fairly tight space… "efficient!" Looks like an exciting and fun place to be with the family!

Tom Poulos

A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Structural Engineer:

Dunn Associates

Mechanical Engineering:

Van Boerum & Frank

Electrical Engineering:

BNA Consulting Engineers

Aquatic Consultant:

Water Design Inc.

General Contractor:

Hogan Associates

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