For three months out of the year, Community Pools become the social hub of our communities, providing families with a place to have fun and create long term memories. Residents rush to their nearest pool starting Memorial Day Weekend, and students often countdown the days for summer pools days. Community pools are one of the most meaningful and engaged assets within a community. We often hear “I spend every summer at this pool” and the “remember when…” stories are endless.
The modern family is very busy and often have limited family fun time. Therefore, it is vital that when families visit their local community pool the facility provides features for the entire family to have an enjoyable and meaningful experience. Kids and adults alike enjoy spending time cooling off in the water, so why not design for everyone to have fun?
Gone are the days of a community pool being a multi-lane 25-yard lap pool with diving boards at one end. These types of pools are great for competitions, swim lessons, and even fitness. However, what these pools lack are the features that keep residents coming back day after day through discovery and fascination.
Every community has a different opinion about what fun is or what brings excitement to the pool. For this reason, engagement with the community and developing an understanding for who they are and their culture is embedded in our design approach. Communities may want a water park with multiple large slides and lazy rivers, competition pools that are either 25 meters or 50 meters, or they simply want a nice quiet place to relax. Often, our designs include multiple bodies of water and features to appeal many types of swimmers.
For the City of Dublin, Ohio, our team engaged with the community before starting the design for the new Dublin Community Pool North. This pool is embedded in the heart of a residential area and is used by different sorts of swimmers, devoted lap swimmers, families with young children, teens, and more. They weren’t looking for a water park. They wanted an environment to recreate, relax, and have fun. Our solution was a large zero-entry* recreation pool with two slides, a separate zero-entry toddler pool, a splash pad, and an 8-lane competition pool with diving platforms. Spray features, geysers, and a climbing wall were included in the overall design. The community came together and identified all these features to include, and the pool deck and the bathhouse were designed to bring a resort aesthetic to the complex while capturing the essence of the Dublin community.
*zero-entry pool: an inground swimming pool designed with an entry that has a very slight slope into the pool, providing you with a long, slow, gradual entry.
Families with children of multiple ages are often the primary users of these community pools. Many times, it is one parent with multiple children visiting. It is important to understand this when planning the pool environment as a parent could have multiple children in different areas using multiple features. One parent can easily keep an eye on their children throughout a zero-entry feature. Shallow-depth toddler pools are still very popular even when zero-entry is part of the overall design. Features are all within eye site of the zero-entry, allowing for maximum visual contact and minimal travel distance between features.
The Grandview Heights Pool was designed with a Tot Pool completely integrated with the zero-entry recreation pool. At the Grandview Heights pool, a parent can sit in the Tot Pool while other children are enjoying the walk-in pool and the water slides that empty directly into the recreation pool. For a pool facility to function well, it is critical that all the features are threaded together either through connecting the water or designing the pool deck in such a way unites the water features versus making each water feature a single destination.
While safety is always our number one concern when designing a pool, our team finds opportunities to bring in the thrill factor that creates memorable experiences and entices users to come back again and again. Other features such as zip-lines, monkey ropes, net climbs, themed interactive water features like a dump bucket or play structures, and water basketball. Every feature is thoroughly vetted with considerations given to the amount and type of pool water necessary to support the feature, maintenance, the age group the feature will serve, and lifeguard/staff needs.
The kid in all of us continues to discover and learn as we experience life. A well-designed community pool will bring families and friends together providing a day full of fun. The water features implemented beyond a large body of water will create the joy and discovery necessary to bring them back for more excitement.