Award Winner - May 2012
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Smith Aquatic & Fitness Center

Charlottesville, Virginia

S U B M I T T E D    B Y

Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype Inc. in Boston

Size: 27,000 square feet

Project Cost: $8.25 million

Quick Tour:

  • 6-lane, 25-yard competition pool with diving board
  • Zero-depth-entry pool with play structure and splash area
  • Lazy river
  • Double waterslide
  • Spectator viewing
  • Wet classroom
  • Multipurpose room
  • Fitness rooms
  • Locker rooms & family changing areas
  • Offices and support areas

Constructing a state-of-the-art indoor swimming pool and fitness facility was the main design goal to help meet the needs of the City of Charlottesville in Virginia. That goal was met and more when a new 27,000-square-foot aquatic center was built. The facility, which earned LEED Platinum certification, is located on the Buford Middle School campus, and part of a recreation complex with a new Boys and Girls Club. The Smith Aquatic Center has replaced the outdated and undersized Smith Center, which had required extensive rehabilitation.

The new center significantly reduces energy and water consumption. The facility achieves a 50 percent reduction in energy use when compared with a code baseline building. The initial capital costs for increased efficiency are projected to be recovered in seven years with a total $3 million payback over the course of the 30-year lifecycle.

The two story facility was built into the hillside, with the main entrance located on the upper level and the locker rooms and natatorium on the lower level. To further enhance the energy efficiency of the building, a geothermal ground source heat pump system was installed below the main parking area, consisting of five deep standing column wells, which help reduce the total building energy demand by 50 percent.

When it comes to the building's exterior design, the rectangular shape of the facility was emphasized with a variety of materials, shading devices and window systems. Meanwhile, the building's interior boasts simple geometries, with durable materials and consideration given to ease of maintenance and aesthetics. Moreover, ground face block walls make up much of the facility's interior with alternating stripes of light and dark block colors. The locker and shower room flooring is a combination of ceramic tile and woven vinyl flooring.

Other innovative features of the facility include: regenerative pool filtration; the integration of geothermal well "bleed" water to cool the roof of the natatorium automatically; the use of dehumidification waste heat to heat the pool water; the integration of tot pool, family pool and therapy pool in one body of water, and more.

The aquatic center's amenities include a family recreation/leisure pool with zero depth entry; a double water slide, play structures and lazy river; a six-lane, 25-yard competition pool with a diving board; ADA handicap lift; wet classroom; spectator viewing area; a fitness center; multipurpose room; staff offices; locker rooms; and family changing rooms.

The center's program offerings include swim lessons, Arthritis Foundation aquatic programs and therapeutic swimming, aerobics, yoga, Zumba, Pilates and strength training. Plus, a range of admissions are offered, including daily, monthly, multi-visit and annual passes.

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