Gauche Aquatic Park fulfills a long-standing vision that community leaders have shared for Yuba City,meeting a variety of goals identified in the 1992 Central City Specific Plan. The center creates a social and symbolic core and an economic engine that will draw commercial development into the downtown area. At a cost of $14.5 million, GAP fulfills many recreational needs in the community. The community park includes areas for active and passive play, gathering spaces and cultural activities. The aquatics center provides much-needed water-related programs and meeting spaces for citizens.
The swim building includes lifeguard and recreation staff offices, ticket sales, concessions, pool equipment rooms, restroom and locker facilities, and meeting and party rooms. The meeting rooms are connected and partitions can be moved aside to create one large room. Television monitors, refrigerators and cabinetry allow for flexibility in function because they can be rented for parties or used for training seminars.
The GAP pools are a primary feature of the park redevelopment and will be the premier aquatics venue for the county. The pool area includes a 10-lane-by-25-yard competition pool, complete with lighting, scoreboard and bleachers.
Also included is an activity pool with a play structure in the center and a beach entry. This warmer-temperature pool offers an area for swim and aquacise classes, in addition to the water slide with receiving pool. Plenty of covered spectator bleacher seating, open lawn seating, and a large expanse of deck area to accommodate lounge chairs, tables and umbrellas are available for informal gatherings. The Riverwalk, a meandering pedestrian path originating at the main entrance to the park, makes its way to and through the aquatics building. The curved rock walls in the lobby mirror the banks of the Yuba River.
The central administrative hub is an oval form that responds to the organic nature of the Riverwalk as well. This strong architectural element houses offices, the lobby and a lifeguard room that utilizes its form to maintain visual contact with the pool deck. Pool users follow the undulating walk through the lobby, out to the pool deck, terminating at the prominent slide tower.
The aquatics building functionally reinforces the important needs of a swim center. Lifeguards are located in a central, visually accessible environment for easy scanning of the entire pool area. A clearly defined and inviting central lobby space allows efficient access to changing and pool areas.
With the community park to one side of the building and the pools to the other, the building acts as a natural perimeter between the two, but also includes functions that provide dual service. The concessions space has service windows for the park and the pools. Separate restrooms are on either side of the structure.
The building footprint is oriented east-west to control solar exposure. In response to the solar orientation, the roof slopes and overhangs to the south to provide much-needed shading in the summer and to accommodate a future photovoltaic panel system. As the roof slopes up in the opposite direction, clerestory windows provide natural light into many areas of the building, taking advantage of consistent northern daylight.
Louvers, located above interior spaces, allow the flow of natural ventilation along the building perimeter. Low VOC interior materials, recycled-content metal roofing and structural steel, high-efficiency lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, dark-sky site lighting, and high-efficiency mechanical systems are just some of the sustainable features.
Gauche Aquatic Park has become a premier venue for the region, a centerpiece of the city’s park and recreation program. It reflects the wonderful river context that is Yuba City, demonstrates a simple, passive sustainable design approach, and also a strong commitment by the city for passive and active recreational leisure for decades to come.