Award Winner - May 2009
Find a printable version here

A Swimming Destination

Pinedale Aquatic Center
Pinedale, Wyo.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

VCBO Architecture
in Salt Lake City

Size: 76,000 square feet

Project Cost: $17 million

Quick Tour:

  • Climbing wall
  • Gymnasium
  • Olympic-size competition pool
  • Leisure pool with waterslide & children's play feature
  • Indoor walking/jogging track
  • Fitness/cardio area
  • Racquetball courts
  • Drop-in daycare
  • Conference rooms
  • High school swim team locker rooms
  • Family change rooms
  • Administrative offices
  • Classroom
  • Party room
  • Multipurpose recreation space
  • Three full-size tennis courts


n this rural mountain community of 1,600 people, 80 miles south of Jackson Hole and sitting at 7,100 feet elevation, a harsh climate and short summer made it necessary to create a recreation center where the community can come together to enjoy a variety of fitness activities year-round. Opened in 2008, the 76,000-square-foot Pinedale Aquatic Center offers a wide array of recreation options for the community and attracts regional swimming competition.

The project began when the local school district realized that the high school's swim team facilities were inadequate to allow them to compete statewide. The existing Pinedale High School natatorium had reached the critical point in the life of any building when the cost for ongoing maintenance and upgrade was more expensive than replacing the building. The school district and local community leaders agreed to collaboratively develop a public Aquatic and Recreation Center, which would serve the needs of the Pinedale High School, the Sublette County School District, the city and its surrounding community.

The outdated infrastructure of the old building prevented its continued use as a natatorium, but the dimensions would allow it to be "recycled" into a gymnasium. The remainder of the "dry land" section of the aquatic center includes a spacious, daylit lobby with control point, a party room, an open cardio/fitness area, a multipurpose space, drop-in daycare, two racquetball courts, a classroom, walking track, and a three-story climbing wall. Daylighting is used throughout these spaces, creating a pleasant environment that reflects the idea of health and wellness.

With water sports as the central theme, the new aquatic section of the facility is designed to accommodate competitive and leisure swimmers alike. The eight-lane 25-yard competition pool features a movable bulkhead that facilitates easy lane length adjustment for competitive events. Team locker rooms and ample spectator seating allow the facility to serve as a destination for regional competitive swimming events. This significant upgrade has placed Pinedale on the map for competitive swimming, and the community has seen an increase in young people electing to participate.

On the leisure-swimming side, families and patrons can enjoy a diving pool, family pool with zero-depth entry, exciting play components including a current channel and slide, and a hot tub. Extensive daylighting drenches the interior of the leisure pool spaces with sunlight. The 30-foot-high waterslide spirals three times before splashing into the pool and is a favorite with children.

The contemporary aesthetic of the Pinedale Aquatic Center features a modern alpine appearance that is as rugged as the surrounding Wyoming environment. With steel and stone accents, the structural integrity of the building is on display. In addition, the angle of the legacy natatorium building is repeated in the lines of the new facility to provide visual continuity and a pleasing form that leads the eye across the structure. The selection of soothing colors for the center's exterior finishes results in a building that fits naturally into place and complements its surroundings.

Pinedale is delighted with the facility, and energized by the tremendously expanded recreational opportunities it creates for the community.


A S S O C I A T E D    F I R M S

Structural Engineer:

Dunn Associates

Mechanical Engineer:

Van Boerum & Frank

Electrical Engineer:

Spectrum Engineers

Aquatic Consultant:

Water Design Inc.

General Contractor:

Okland Construction

More award winners...