Feature Article - May 2008
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Always in Season

Transforming Single-Season Swimming Into Year-Round Fun

By Kate Bongiovanni

FORGET THE KIDNEY-SHAPED COVERS to keep the leaves out, winter hibernation and draining that summer haunt, and being forced inside and out of the water when inclement weather hits. Swimming pools and other outdoor recreational facilities are transforming from single-season—in many parts of the country—to year-round centers thanks in part to technology and building materials that have been growing in popularity for the past 30 years.

Alan Dodson, owner of Sun Building Products in Garland, Texas, has worked in the business for the past 25 years and has witnessed the increase in enclosed facilities both residential and commercial. "They do it so they can swim year round," Dodson said. He also explained that the technology has evolved from primitive opening systems to sophisticated cable systems. The use of materials has changed from steel construction to more superior aluminum, and support structures no longer quickly turn black from mold and mildew or erode due to chlorine and need to be replaced.

"We design the enclosures in terms of what the customer wants," Dodson said. This can be anything from a structure utilizing concrete sidewalls instead of the more commonly used sliding glass doors to building residential enclosures more elaborate than the home itself. And in working on several projects in tornado-prone areas, he noted that weather plays a role in the design and ensuring that a structure can withstand a force of impact.