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Open less than a year, the Gulliver Schools Aquatic Center (located on the Gulliver Preparatory campus) already has established a reputation for being a premier competition facility.

The 50-meter-by-25-yard competition pool includes a movable bulkhead, allowing competitive high school swimming and water polo events to happen simultaneously. A removable, custom-designed netting barrier on the bulkhead prevents errant water polo balls. The pool has 10 lanes in the 50-meter direction, and 20 lanes in the 25-yard direction.

When it comes to design, the pool is above ground to keep all of its 7-foot depth out of the surrounding high water table. It also has a geothermal heating system that keeps water up to 20 degrees warmer than the average ambient air temperature.

Rounding out the facility are special colored paver staging areas for visiting teams, which can be used for parties; coaches’ offices, each of which has direct visual access to the entire pool deck; a team classroom equipped for viewing and studying swimming videos; and a team exercise room.

The aquatics facility was built for students, but it’s also home to a Masters Swimming program, a swim club and a water polo club for the surrounding neighborhood.

In six months, the swim club has expanded from 60 to 105 members, and the Masters program has grown from 10 to 25 members. Additionally, the full 50-meter collegiate length of the pool helps attract northern colleges that move their teams to South Florida in the winter and need rental facilities.

In fact, according to operators, two additional lanes were added early in the design process in consideration of this potential income source.

Best Practices

To accommodate future expansion, several building blocks were included in the development. The coaches’ observation roof deck was designed to accept future “green roof” palettes of sedum plants.

It was also structurally designed to convert to a second story of classrooms, and the pit for a future elevator (with all future underground conduits in place) currently serves as a planter for poolside palm trees, ready for future conversion.


JUDGES’COMMENTS

“Fantastic — well-thought-out geothermal heating! The school handled the aboveground aspects in a great fashion. Great anticipation of the multiple uses for the pool — competitive swimming, water polo and lap swimming.”

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 50-meter-by-25-yard competition pool, 7 feet deep with 10 lanes in the 50-meter direction, and 20 lanes in the 25-yard direction
  • Movable bulkhead allows competitive high school swimming and water polo events to happen simultaneously
  • Geothermal heating system keeps water up to 20 degrees warmer than the average ambient air temperature
  • Team classroom and exercise room