Facility Profile - July/August 2002
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Theme Helps Mine Success

Apex Center Aquatics Complex
Arvada, Colo.

By Margaret Ahrweiler

This recreation center is so big, it didn't all fit in one story. In this profile, we continue our series and examine its aquatics center.

The Apex Center Aquatic Complex
has a lot to offer.

Arvada, Colo., on the outskirts of the greater Denver area, boasts breathtaking scenery and a wealth of recreational opportunities, from mountain biking to skiing. But occasionally, residents can be lured inside—and the aquatics complex at the 168,500-square-foot Apex Center, pride of the North Jeffco Park and Recreation District, provides plenty of reasons to stay indoors.

The 23,500-square-foot aquatics area, with five separate components, has the look and feel of a resort indoor waterpark—no surprise, given that one of its planners, Water Technology, Inc. of Beaver Dam, Wis., has designed many of the water play areas that have made the Wisconsin Dells a year-round destination.

"It's somewhat unusual to have a park-district facility devoted purely to recreation, so our goal was push beyond the traditional recreation center experience and bring in a waterpark atmosphere," says Ken Ward, a principal with Water Technology. Since the district already had a competition pool at another site, the Apex area could focus solely on fun, he adds, while catering to the needs of a wide range of ages and interests.

Working with the district, theming consultants R & R Creative Amusement Designs, Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., created a mining motif to reflect the area's history. The water play and slide areas recall a mining village, and the rock landscaping throughout the complex both reinforce that theme and provide effective sound barriers. The rock formations, along with the wall of windows across the south side, bring an outdoor feel indoors.


The largest water area, the activity pool, caters to older children or the young at heart. It features two 150-foot water slides, which provide a thrill by starting inside the building, winding their way outdoors for a tunnel experience, then returning inside. (This feature was actually an unusual solution to a design and construction problem: There wasn't enough room in the building for all the turns and length the team wanted, so the team literally thought outside the box.) Other activities include a current channel, which also gets used for water exercise; tethered floating logs, for climbing and balance games; a water basketball area; and nets for water volleyball.

Next, the leisure pool, shallow with a long zero entry, keeps younger children busy. By separating this from the activity pool, it helps prevent collisions or competition between older and younger children. Its dominant feature is a mining-themed water playground by SCS Interactive, which had never been installed indoors before. It offers arch jets, sprays and a variety of climbing areas, with different activities on multilevel platforms, capped by two eight-foot-tall water slides.

For warming up or chilling out, the Apex offers two whirlpool options. The 149-square-foot family whirlpool is located within sight of the leisure pool to solve the "Watch, Mom!" dilemma. Unlike standard whirlpools, it is heated to only 96 degrees, so small children, whose bodies can't dissipate heat as well, can enjoy a whirlpool safely, Ward says. And off to one side, encased by rockwork for privacy and soundproofing, is an 87-square-foot, adult-only whirlpool heated to the traditional 103 degrees.

Finally, a 2,593-square-foot lap pool, ranging from 3-1/2 to five feet deep, provides four lanes for recreational and exercise swimming and includes a ramp to provide better access to disabled users. This pool is used regularly for water aerobics as well.


With all this water in one space—192,600 gallons, to be precise—cleanliness and air quality became paramount. In response, Water Technology set up a large-scale ozonation system, to maintain water and hence air quality, along with a calcium hydrochloride feeder system to keep the water chemistry in balance by controlling the total alkalinity of the pool. Manufactured by Neptune-Benson Inc. of West Warwick, R.I., the ozone and filtration equipment for the activity pool includes a custom filtration system with 8-by-6-inch facepiping and three tanks, two stacked and one on the side of the lower tank, along with a 60-inch diameter by 96-inch sideshell ozone contact vessel. For the leisure pool, a one-tank filtration system with 6-inch facepiping and two 42-inch diameter by 96-inch sideshell ozone contact vessels were installed. The lap pool features a one-tank filtration system with 6-inch facepiping. All facepiping on the systems includes three-way manual valve operation and stainless-steel discs. The filter tanks and ozone equipment are constructed of fiberglass, with vinyl ester resins for superior ozone resistance.

Of course, patrons don't notice these chemical details much—which is the point. But with daily resident rates ranging from only $2 for children under 6 to $4.50 for adults, they know a bargain for a waterpark experience when they see it. According to North Jeffco's Marketing Director Faith Gregor, attendance at the Apex Center has averaged almost 39,000 visitors a month, with a healthy chunk of that for the aquatics area.

By the Numbers
Surface AreaVolumeCirculation Rate
Lap Pool2,593 sf/77,800 gal354
Leisure Pool2,939 sf/22,500 gal375
Activity Pool3,426 sf/88,000 gal1,270
Family Whirlpool149 sf/2,940 gal196
Adult Whirlpool87 sf/1,360 gal91

Next issue we will explore the unique skating facilities at the Apex Center.

For more information
North Jeffco Park and Recreation District: 303-424-2739

Neptune-Benson Inc.: 401-821-2200

R & R Creative Amusement Designs, Inc.: 714-776-5234

Water Technology Inc.: 920-887-7375