Upper Valley Aquatic Center
Aquatic centers are highly specialized spaces, particularly when competitive and recreational spaces are combined under one roof, creating significant design challenges. These two spaces are generally separated so that the competition space atmosphere (as well as the water) can be kept between 5 and 8 degrees cooler than the leisure pool space. Typically separated in large part by glass, the two rooms will both be equipped with a thermal barrier to guard against condensation issues.
This 40,000-square-foot Upper Valley Aquatic Center includes both — a competition space including a 10-lane, 25-meter by 11-lane, 25-yard competition pool and a 300-seat upper-level spectator gallery, and a leisure pool with three 25-yard warm-up lanes, several water slides, fountains, a lazy river, and an activity room for group rental events. The facility’s most exciting feature is the inclusion of an operable skylight system. When opened in conjunction with perimeter doors, the skylight gives the space an outdoor feel in mild seasonal weather. Completing the project are a fitness center and day-care center.
Our experience with community recreation facilities led us to design Upper Valley with separate locker rooms for adults (men’s and women’s) and children (boys’ and girls’). This arrangement is more comfortable for each group, and follows the logic that has made separate family changing locker rooms — for families with very young children, people with disabilities, and fathers or mothers attending opposite-sex children — the industry standard in new facilities.