For the Guppies
Features were included to appeal to every age and ability. The zero-depth entry area features geysers, an interactive water table, and other play features for the youngest splashers. Designers devoted plenty of space to this area, not only to accommodate many users, but also so children will have enough room to feel confident and comfortable, and so parents’ view of their little ones would be less obstructed.
As is the norm, the Kroc organization stipulated that the 5,870-square-foot aquatics facility feature heavy theming. The property is located in a coastal city, so the design team quickly and naturally gravitated toward the concept of water and its non-literal expression. Decorative sea creatures and bubbles float above, among the blue, gray and white overhead panels that represent the ocean. Additionally, the play structure looks like an underwater mermaid palace. To secure the necessary funds for the elaborate decoration, the aquatic designer helped with fund-raising efforts. The lap lanes were designed for flexible programming to accommodate multiple activities, including swim lessons and lap swimming.
Round and Round
A current channel with vortex and underwater bench seating add motion and visual interest to the layout. A water volleyball area and multistory body slide, seen in back, engage more active and adventurous users.
The site itself presented its own challenge: The design team had to contend with the high groundwater often found on properties near the ocean. Designers consulted with geotechnical engineers to explore options for anchoring the pool without having to undertake the expense of building on piles. They considered thickening the pool floor to resist hydrostatic pressure, but instead developed a dewatering system for the area. This way, water would be drawn away from the pools to avoid compromising the in-ground structures.
Completed in 2014 at a final cost of $32 million, this is one of 27 Kroc Centers across the country — and the fifth to be named a Dream Designs facility. Joan Kroc, widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, left the Salvation Army a $1.5 billion bequest to establish community centers in underserved areas. The trust stipulates that each center be highly visible and easily accessible, so this facility was pushed toward the nearest major street.