The A.V. Symington Aquatic Center is the latest development in the Ida Lee Park located in Leesburg, Va. Instead of a typical municipal swim center the Town of Leesburg chose to work with designers to create an aquatics facility that provides a wide variety of activities appealing to young children and their families. The aquatics park includes a 600-foot-long lazy river, two large slides, and a number of water features.

The waterpark complex is located in a large low lying area which includes a wonderful landscape of rolling hills, planted areas, and natural rock. Since the lot already had a beautiful landscape the team chose a natural look in lieu of a themed design for the park. This includes use of earth tone colors, such as dark green slide towers, water features and shade structures. Additionally, the standing seam roof and masonry of the bathhouse were chosen to match the other buildings within the Ida Lee Park. Architects also adjusted the site contours so the pools could be built on compacted fill in one effort to limit the removal of subsurface rock under the pools. The design team used the site’s larger boulders for an island in the middle of the lazy river, which was artistically planted by Bill Ference, the Assistant Director for Parks for the City of Leesburg.

The aquatic elements included in the project were selected to provide a maximum variety of entertainment for a broad population of users. The elements were located so that users and spectators alike can enjoy them. For example, the large slide tower was placed at the rear of the pack so that it did not obscure the panoramic view of the park setting.

The Lazy River is entered across a zero bottom beach entry and is connected to a larger leisure pool with a lap swim area. The leisure pool ranges in depth from zero to 3’6” and features two small slides, a floating alligator and snake, a dumping bucket, two waterfalls, and a lily pad crossing activity.

There is also a 16-foot high slide tower for the support and access to two large water slides that terminate in an isolated splash pool. The tower has been designed to accommodate a third slide to offer additional entertainment and park growth in the future.

The pools are surrounded by concrete decks — which include shade structures and spaces for lounge chairs — and grassy areas, which provide additional softer space for reclining on blankets and beach towels. The site also includes a ticket sales booth, managers’ office, a well-equipped snack bar, filter room, guards’ station, and first aid facility. The masonry bathhouse offers two barrier-free family changing rooms, which are fully accessible by all.

There were several environmental considerations in developing AV Symington. These include: The storm water management design, which allows water from the uphill portion of the park site to be treated through the retention pond built with the aquatic facility; electronic controls on locker room sinks; and natural ventilation.

The A.V. Symington Aquatics Center opened in May of 2009. The final design provides infrastructure and parking to accommodate a future spray ground.


Opened: 2009

Total Construction Cost: $5.6 million

Aquatic space: 13,944 square feet

Dream amenities: Leisure pool featuring a 600-foot-long lazy river, waterslides, lily pad crossing, and 25-yard lap lanes; Slide tower with separate splash down pool


  • Dream Designers: Smolen Emr + Associates Architects Inc. and Almy Architects, PC
  • Civil Engineer: Adtek Engineers
  • Structural Engineer: Columbia Engineering Inc.
  • MEP: Mendoza, Ribas, Farinas & Associates
  • Cost Estimating: J. Vinton Schafer & Sons Inc.


  • AntiWave Pool Products: Lane dividers
  • Daltile Corp.: Lane markers
  • Grainger Industrial Supplies: Air compressors
  • Mer-Made Filter: Filters
  • Miracle Recreation Equipment Co., WaterPark Experts: Water slides
  • Paco Pumps: Pumps
  • Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics: Chemical controllers
  • Spectrum Products: Ladders/grab bars
  • Stenner Pump Co.,Siemens Water Technologies: Sanitation
  • WaterPark Experts: Water-play equipment