Supplement Feature - February 2012
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The ABCs of Aquatic Design

An Alphabetical Stroll Through the Latest Trends

By Dawn Klingensmith


Shade. There are many classic and innovative shade structures on the market. Whichever type and brand of shade structure you choose, make sure to provide ample shaded areas with seating so patrons can get out of the direct sunlight and avoid sunburn.

Shallow areas. They are tot-friendly, and especially when there are water features, they often become the most crowded section of the pool. Splashpads or spraygrounds with no standing water at all but plenty of opportunities to splash and get wet are popular, both as standalone play areas and as featured areas of larger aquatics facilities.

Sightlines. Lifeguards need to be able to monitor the entire pool and all its occupants without visual impediments. "You always have to staff for the number of swimmers, but in cases of low usage, can one lifeguard see all areas of a pool? Or can one lifeguard safely monitor two pools in low-usage situations? Sometimes small changes in configuration can lead to significant operational savings" such as potential labor savings, Rowland said.

Surfing machines. With a relatively small footprint, they deliver "large entertainment value" and "both active and passive entertainment," Kempfer said. Because of their novelty and appeal, they also offer marketing opportunities, she added.


Temperature. Wherever possible, it's desirable to have more than one pool or a means of maintaining different pool water temperatures to accommodate different activities comfortably. A lap swimmer may want the water a full 10 degrees cooler than an arthritic senior. Saint Francis Medical Center's Fitness Plus in Cape Girardeau, Mo., recognizes this. The facility operates four different pools, each at different temperatures, for different activities and demographics. The lap pool, for example, is kept at 82 degrees while the therapy pool holds steady at 92 degrees.

Theming. "Themed environments within a park have become increasingly popular in municipal and commercial waterparks. The ability to package some sort of experience and create an instant atmosphere transforms guests into another world as they navigate through the park," Kempfer said. "This concept creates excitement and a sense of arrival for the guest and can help increase the length of stay."


Updates. Plan to add or replace attractions every few years to keep customers coming back.

Universal access. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires facilities to provide a means for people with disabilities to access the pool; while mechanical pool lifts are in compliance, zero-depth entry is a better choice where possible.

UV light disinfection. Pool spaces are more complex than ever before, increasing the challenge of maintaining balanced water. Shallower water depths and an increased amount of water agitation via the addition of larger, more interactive water features give rise to some of these challenges. Traditional water treatment systems are often taxed beyond their capacity to maintain water quality under these circumstances. UV treatment systems enhance the pool environment by improving water quality, air quality and safety. UV eliminates chloramines, which cause eye and skin irritation, and also protect against microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium.


Variable frequency drives. Precise control of pumping systems made possible by variable frequency drives results in savings of thousands of kilowatt hours per year.

Versatility. If you have a single pool, make sure it can handle more than one event simultaneously. If you have a freeform pool or multiple pools, plan for a mix of programming and areas for all users including lap lanes for recreational swimming; a calm, shallow area for small children; a livelier area with play elements for older children, teens and adults; and an area to just relax.