A Community United
Irwin A. Goodman & Robert D. Goodman Community Swimming Pool
It's hard to believe that a city of more than 500,000 residents could do without a municipal swimming pool, but until 2006, Madison, Wis., did just that. The Irwin A. Goodman & Robert D. Goodman Community Swimming Pool, called the Goodman Pool for short, is the very first municipal pool in Wisconsin's capital city, named after two retired jewelers who committed a lead donation of $2 million to the facility.
With another generous donation from the Madison Community Foundation, the city was able to get going. Ultimately, the city itself, along with private donors—even some kids sending in their weekly allowance, according to the pool's Web site—contributed funds to design and construct the facility.
One of the key challenges was determining the proper site for the pool. Project leaders wanted it to be accessible for all of the city's neighborhoods. The goal was to attract residents of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, providing public aquatic recreation to families of all income levels.
Nine sites eventually narrowed down to one, and Water Technology Inc., an aquatic design firm based in Beaver Dam, Wis., developed two initial plans—one for 800 swimmers and one for 1,000 swimmers.
Deciding which size to go with was dependent on how much additional money could be raised for the project. After reviewing both plans, the Goodman brothers determined that the larger pool was needed to avoid turning kids away due to crowding. They donated an extra $500,000 to build the larger pool.
Designing the pool for its site presented some unique challenge, due to high groundwater and environmental issues.
"We needed to locate and build the pool on a site that had high groundwater, so that presented some particular challenges," said Dean Mueller, project manager with Water Technology. "In addition, it's located next to Wingra Creek, so we had to be environmentally friendly with the design, and handle the runoff water before it went into the creek."
When the pool opened to the public in June 2006, Madisonians of all ages, abilities and backgrounds were welcomed through an elaborate entryway.
"That piece of artwork is part of the CitiARTS, which funded that," Mueller said. "They actually had a competition where artists competed to submit designs for that entryway, and they ended up with something beautiful."
Once through the gate, patrons are greeted by a multi-functional pool designed for leisure use, swimming lessons, water aerobics and competitive swimming, complete with space for bleacher seating next to the competitive pool.
"The pool itself has a 25-meter, eight-lane competitive lap pool with two 1-meter diving boards attached to the zero-depth entry portion of the pool, so it can be used for competitive swim meets," Mueller said.
Because of its location within a residential area, designers chose earth tone colors to maintain the park-like look and to allow the facility to blend in with the area. The shade structures around the pool are not the typical shape seen in many pools, and have the benefit of being portable and can be moved with the sun.
Buildings on the site incorporate windows to make use of natural light, as well as colors and textures to create an eye-catching, non-institutional look.
Attendance at the facility substantially exceeded projections, with an average of 1,100 guests per day during the first season.
"Madison's first community pool has clearly become a center for bringing people of different economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds together—helping to unite us as one community to the benefit of all," said the Goodman brothers in a press release.
Taking their philanthropy one step further, the brothers have established a scholarship program for underprivileged children and families to pay for their admission fees as well as swimming lessons.
The Goodman Pool truly does represent aquatics for all.
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