The Higginsville Aquatics Center project was a community effort, completed with a forward-thinking approach during all phases of the development process.

Opened in 2009, the facility offers a variety of features for all ages. The littlest ones have deck sprays and a themed play structure, older children have floatables, slides and a diving board, and the adults have an easily accessible facility that offers a variety of opportunities for exercise and relaxation. The facility is laid out with space to accommodate various exercise programs.  The pool is 25-yards wide to allow lap swimming, with a depth between 3 and 5 feet. This creates an ideal area for water aerobics and aqua therapy.

From the start, public input was key. During the design development phase the team performed a facility audit, analyzed demographic trends, conducted a public survey, projected operational expenses and feature phasing options. This encompassing approach was a huge advantage for the success of the project. Information gathered enabled the city and design team to formulate a concept that was both efficient and exciting for users.

During all phases of the project the cost was always a priority, and like any project with a fixed budget, incorporating all the desired features and amenities was the biggest challenge in Higginsville. Concessions had to be made based on priority of importance, site limitations, constructability and budget. For example, some in the community wanted a fully compatible competition area, but after analyzing the budget, operational impact and the cost of such an amenity it was deemed unfeasible. To maximize what was possible, both owner and design team continually looked for opportunities to reduce expenses. Offering bid alternates, having owner supplied items and work done by the owner, were some of the cost saving measures for this project.

Innovative efforts to remain on budget continued during the construction the project. The new facility is located in a park complex in the same place as an older facility once stood. This minimized excavation, reduced the disturbed area of the construction site and did not restrict existing activities within the park.

In addition to the emphasis on the budget during construction, the owner and design team focused on creating opportunities to save in the operations of the facility. Energy efficient equipment including VFDs was selected to help reduce water usage and power consumption throughout the life of the facility. Other “green” techniques and technology included using suppliers and manufacturers located nearby to reduce costs and disturbances from the freighting and transportation process. Additionally, the bathhouse, and adjoining mechanical space, was constructed with a metal roof.  The decision for this material was born from the notion that the system should reduce lifecycle maintenance, and hopefully have an increased longevity compared to an asphalt system. The layout of the facility was also designed for maximum efficiency. Great efforts were made analyzing the plans so no extra lifeguards and support staff would be needed because of isolated or restricted views created by amenities.

The overall aesthetics of the facility were guided by a couple of ideas. First, there was an emphasis put on brightness and excitement. Second, and most importantly, the theme was driven by the custom “Tiki Hut” play structure and matching tidal tank. The combination of these two striking features anchors the identity of the feature and adds immediate excitement when patrons walk through the gates.

Although not all the community’s desired amenities became a reality, the facility is a nice compliment to the rest of the public park complex. The pool gives park users another option for entertainment. It also allows the City’s parks department the opportunity to offer citizens a wide variety of programs, such as swim lessons and aqua aerobics.


Opened: 2009

Cost:$1.8 million

Aquatic space: 15,187 square feet

Dream amenities: The leisure pool features a zero-depth entry; an open flume water slide; a speed slide; a vortex pool; a themed, interactive water-play unit; themed floatables; sun shade structures; and deck sprays. It is capable of accommodating two 25-yard lap lanes.


  • Dream Designer: Larkin Aquatics
  • Architect: Larkin Aquatics
  • Aquatic Designer/Site Development: Larkin Aquatics
  • Structural Engineer: BSE Structural Engineers
  • Bathhouse Plumbing & Electrical Design: Custom Engineering
  • Construction: Vanum Construction


  • Aurora Pumps: Pumps
  • Bradley Corp.: Lockers
  • Chemtrol: Chemical control systems
  • Lawson Aquatics: Gutters
  • Paragon Aquatics: Dive stands, ladders, grab bars
  • PPG: Sanitization equipment
  • Ruud Lighting: Lighting
  • Splashtacular: Water slides
  • Superior Shade: Sun shades
  • United Industries: Filters, cleaners, vacuums (SwimTime)
  • Water Odyssey: Water-play equipment