Supplement Feature - February 2011
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Catching the Wave

Staying Current With the Latest Aquatic Designs

By Kelli Anderson

Community 101

Change in aquatic design is also evident in colleges and universities. Aquatic facilities, once geared only to attract athletic students and to host sporting events, are now being built to foster fitness and fun in the form of leisure pools. For the students at the University of Texas in Austin, for example, The Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex was built not just for athletes, but for the entire student body.

"The goal was to create a campus environment that fosters socialization," said Pete Schaack, associate director for facilities at the school. "The Aquatic Complex has filled a void on campus by offering new opportunities for recreation, socializing and community building. It was designed to support multiple, active and passive recreation activities all day long and well into the night, with lighting provided for evening activities."

The most popular feature, according to Schaack, is the "Lounge Ledge," a leisure pool where partially submerged bathers relax in semi-immersed lawn chairs to gather, socialize and put up their flags to be served their drinks like a resort hotel. With a deck boasting Wi-Fi connectivity, multiple sound systems for background music and various water features that accommodate water aerobics, water polo, water basketball and dive-in movies, the space also regularly hosts student organizations and department socials, pool parties and concerts.

Whether municipal, commercial or educational, today's aquatic designs are anything but old school.