Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Multipurpose Pools

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Multipurpose Pools

Article excerpt

The days of the old rectilinear neighborhood pool have given way to the modern aquatic center. This is due in part to the need to generate revenue to offset operating expenses and to meet the public's demand for specialized programs and services. As we look to the built environment to support these programs, we have seen the evolution of the multipurpose swimming pool, designed and built to provide the special needs for a variety of programs and uses, including:

Swimming Area         Recreation Areas   Specialized Use Areas

Lap/Competition       Water slides,      Lazy rivers,
lanes, Diving wells   Climbing walls     Lilly pad zones

Wading pools          Water basketball   Zip line zones

To meet the specific needs of each program, a pool requires different water depths, water temperatures and pool profiles. In some cases, we may choose to have multiple separate pools to meet the demand of these different aquatic activities. However, because of the code-required pool decks surrounding each pool and the need for spectator areas and paths of travel, multiple separate pools require more area than a single multipurpose pool. The cost savings from developing a smaller, multiuse pool area is especially magnified in a natatorium where the cost per square foot is much higher. Multiple pools also require a larger mechanical space to house the code-required independent filter and mechanical systems for each pool. The cost savings from these two combined often make a multipurpose pool the best choice for a new or renovated aquatic center.

It is important to keep in mind that multipurpose pools can create conditions that require special attention as the varied programs can put extra loads on the pools, systems, staff and patrons. Areas that often require special attention include:

Water Quality     Spectator & Seating Areas
Air Quality       Wayfaring (i.e., traveling on foot)
Paths of Travel   Staffing

Most state health codes require a public swimming pool to have a 65hour turnover rate; wading pools have a one-hour turnover requirement. So, how do you manage a pool that has both areas in a single multipurpose pool? Most state codes do not give direction on how to handle this. One approach is to calculate the pool volume in the various pool areas and then add the flow rates of each area to find a total flow rate for a multipurpose pool. …

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