The Heritage Park Aquatic Complex is a major landmark in the 160-acre Heritage Park master plan. The design, by SHArchitecture of Las Vegas, consists of two indoor pools.

The first pool is a lap/competitive pool with fourteen 25-yard lanes and a water depth ranging from 3.5 to 13 feet. It is designed for all levels of competition and meets U.S. swimming and NIAA standards as well as standards for diving, synchronized swimming and water polo.

The second pool was built for therapy and instructional purposes. With four 25-yard lanes, it ranges in depth from 3 to 4 feet and includes two stair entries, a seating/teaching shelf and a ramp entry. Warmer water temperatures also help accommodate therapeutic and instructional needs.

In developing this project, the team maintained a strict focus on environmental sustainability. The city of Henderson has established very high standards for sustainability on all its projects, and the Heritage Aquatic Complex is no exception, right down to the Herman Miller furniture, selected for its Cradle to Cradle certification and nearly 100 percent recyclability.

Designed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, and currently pursuing LEED Platinum status, the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex features an innovative ground-source heat loop that utilizes the earthís temperature to maintain the poolís temperature. More than 180 wells were drilled nearly 300 feet into the ground to obtain almost 400 tons of heating and cooling capacity. Once the pools are initially heated by highly efficient gas-fired boilers, the pool maintenance heat is handled by the ground-source heat loop.

Additionally, the facility was designed to cool the staff offices by transferring heat from these spaces into the pool heating loop, thereby further increasing the efficiency of the heating system. All told, the structure operates using 40 percent less energy than a standard aquatics facility, thanks to the ground-source heat loop system.

The building also uses energy- saving daylighting in all interior occupied spaces. This is accomplished through the use of skylights and strategically placed windows and openings. The interior lights are connected to daylight sensors that ensure even levels of light will be distributed throughout the day. The natatorium utilizes a light truss system with indirect lighting that has multiple steps of illumination, from daily use to competition and television filming levels. Exterior lights are run off 100 percent solar power.

As with all facilities in southern Nevada, a major concern is water savings. Through innovative waste-water technologies, Heritage uses 43 percent less water than allowed b y the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These technologies include the strategic implementation of ultra-low flow urinals, dual flush toilets and low-flow shower heads. Also, the exterior landscaping is an excellent example of a verdant, low-water design.

Beyond the green features, the refined yet playful building design communicates its purpose. The natatorium features large window walls opening to the exterior, creating a larger area that utilizes ìsun porchesî on two sides of the building.

The imagery of bubbles is used throughout the structure to accentuate the pool. For example, globe lights are hung at varying heights to simulate bubbles running through the space. The color scheme of blue, green, gray and black is vibrant and forms an energized interior experience. These colors are scattered through the exterior windows in homage to light reflection on the surface of water.

Looking ahead, the main natatorium roof has been designed and constructed to enable a future photovoltaic array to cover its surface. As Eric Roberts, vice president at SHArchitecture, observes, ìThe foresight to create locations for sustainable technologies to continue to be integrated into this facility will ensure that it serves the city of Henderson in a responsible way for years to come.î


Opened: 2010

Cost: $16.3 million

Aquatic space:41,523 square feet

Dream Amenities:14-lane, 25-meter competition pool and another 3-lane instructional/therapy pool; separate restrooms for general public, families and senior citizens


  • Dream Designer: SH Architecture
  • Aquatic Designer:Counsilman-Hunsaker
  • Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical: MSA Consulting Engineers
  • Civil Engineering: Per4mance Consulting & Engineering
  • Ground-Source Heat Loop Design: Sound Geothermal Corp.
  • Landscape Design: JW Zunino Landscape Architecture


  • Bradley Corp.:Lockers
  • Competitor Swim Products:Lane markers
  • Crossville: Flooring
  • KDI Paragon: Ladders / grab bars
  • Lochinvar Corp.: Heaters
  • Nemato Corp.: Filters
  • PoolPak Technologies Corp.: Dehumidifier
  • Recreonics; AquaMax Junior Plus: Cleaners / vacuums
  • SureWater Technologies:Chemical controllers
  • T-Star Enterprises: Pool covers