Supplement Feature - February 2012
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The ABCs of Aquatic Design

An Alphabetical Stroll Through the Latest Trends

By Dawn Klingensmith


Daylighting. Ideally, indoor pools will let in plenty of natural light for patron comfort and energy savings. But poorly positioned windows can cause glare, which is both an aesthetics problem and a safety issue. Clerestory windows are one way to let in indirect natural light without creating unsafe glare on the pool.

Deep water diving. "There's a resurgence of interest in this traditional activity," Kempfer said. Accordingly, the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Virginia, which opened in July 2010, has a 10-meter diving platform over its 17-foot deep end. Only the 1- and 3-meter spring boards are open to the general public, though.

Disinfection. Innovative technologies for keeping water clean and safe have been gaining in popularity as concern over chlorine-resistant pathogens has grown. Saline systems, ozone systems and UV systems are on the rise, and are often used in addition to traditional chlorination, or as alternatives. In a recent Recreation Management survey, saline systems were the most commonly used alternative disinfection system in health clubs, while UV disinfection is the most commonly used alternative in general.


Entrapment. Swimmer entrapment in suction fittings and drain covers can cause injuries and drowning. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Safety and Spa Act requires all public pools and spas to install anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices where needed. Learn more at

Exchange rate. The air exchange rate for a natatorium is the rate at which indoor air is exchanged with outdoor air and is measured in exchanges per hour. Your air handling system must be capable of an air exchange rate that meets the minimum standards for your area and ensures optimal air quality for patron comfort.

Extreme thrill rides. Exposed to waterparks, the tween and teen demographic expects to see bigger, faster, steeper and scarier attractions and rides. These include speed slides, bowl rides and 360 loop rides. Of course, not all municipalities can afford such attractions and are opting for zip lines, mat racers and other "cheap thrills."


Filtration. "We use Defender filters to save water, energy and chemicals. This system filters down to one to four microns, so we keep our water as clean and clear as possible," said Amanda Roark, senior communications manager at Great Wolf Resorts, based in Madison, Wis.

Flexibility. Your design should make provisions for future additions and expansion.


Green design. Sustainability is not just good for the environment and public relations. In some cities, it's a requirement. The East Portland Community Center natatorium became the first parks and recreation facility in Portland, Ore., to meet the city's requirements that all new municipal buildings obtain a minimum of LEED Gold certification (the center qualified for Platinum). Its green features include: capturing conditioned air and using it to heat pool water; a photovoltaic system that provides about 17 percent of the natatorium's total energy demand; a smaller solar thermal array to preheat shower water; low-flow fixtures; and a regenerative media filter system.

Gulliver Schools Aquatic Center. This aquatic center has established a reputation as a premier competition facility. The competition pool includes a movable bulkhead, allowing competitive high school swimming and water polo events to take place simultaneously. A removable, custom-designed netting barrier on the bulkhead prevents interference from errant water polo balls.