Facility Profile - September 2007
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A Pool with a Past

Roosevelt Aquatics Complex in Glenview, Ill.

By Emily Tipping

hile many towns and cities across the country have dedicated dollars to construct brand-new aquatics complexes featuring all of the latest trends in water fun, others have focused on preserving the past, while moving ahead into the 21st century. At its Roosevelt Pool, the Village of Glenview, a town of nearly 45,000, had a beautifully designed piece of history to preserve, and an interest in moving its aquatics facilities forward to meet the needs of the next generation.

This is exactly what it did when it renovated Roosevelt Pool, which was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) more than a half-century ago.

Established in 1935, the WPA was a New Deal agency that employed millions and affected towns across the nation. Most of the work done by the agency involved public facilities and infrastructure—highways, streets, bridges, public buildings, parks and park structures, recreational fields—some of which is still in use today.

In Glenview, Ill., the Roosevelt Pool was one such work. Completed in 1940 by the WPA and subsequently altered during the 1950s, the park's saucer-shaped pool held more than a half-million gallons of water. The pool is a cherished location for thousands of people who learned to swim at the facility. Over 50,000 kids in the community learned to swim there.

But by the end of the 20th century, that long backlog of history was beginning to take its toll. The pool's concrete deck was cracked, the facility was not in compliance with newer codes, and the filter and mechanical systems were inefficient. All of this served to reveal just how long the pool had been in use, and the village and park district administrators knew it was time to update the facility.

Williams Architects, a Carol Stream, Illinois-based architectural firm, was brought on board to handle the project. One critical requirement of their design approach was to retain the facility's heritage, while allowing it to swim smoothly into the 21st century. The $6.5 million project, completed in June 2005, involved major renovations to the historic facility, as well as additions to the existing bathhouse structure.

The pool's original bathhouse is a beautiful stone building with a fireplace and open-beamed ceiling. It was kept as part of the renovation, but received some upgrades, including a 680-square-foot addition. The remodel also incorporated new family-style changing rooms, which are becoming more popular at family-oriented facilities nationwide.