With the economic downturn over the past couple of years, it was time for our aquatic center to think outside the box and create some new excitement. Our ultimate goal was to increase overall attendance and revenue by encouraging residents to spend their “staycations” in the city of Folsom and utilize
the aquatic center.
Since opening in 2001, the facility has built a wide array of
successful programming, including swim lessons, recreational swims,
pool rentals, birthday parties and a variety of miscellaneous
programming ranging from scuba diving to underwater hockey. We
currently operate year ’round, and serve as home to the
Sierra Marlins (U.S. Swim Team), two local high school teams and a
summer recreation program. Last year our operating budget exceeded
$730,000 in revenue.
As we brainstormed many ideas during the off-season to increase
attendance, it was difficult to think of a program that would
provide the necessary “wow” factor. To make it more
challenging, we wanted to create excitement without committing a
large amount of resources and time.
A couple of years ago while attending a trade show, I picked up a
brochure advertising some very large inflatables that looked as if
they would be a fun addition. With the support of our department
heads, the decision was made to move forward with the purchase of
three of these large inflatables to create the “Folsom
Aquatic Center Megaplex of Fun.” Along with the purchase of
the three inflatables, we decided to buy two portable deck slides
and a climbing wall that will debut in 2010.
With the acquisition of this new equipment, the staff recognized
the need to launch a new marketing campaign and fee structure to
complement the new attractions, while encouraging residents to
utilize the facility.
The result? In one of the toughest economic times this country has
ever seen, our aquatic center had its most successful fiscal year
By lowering our season pass rate, we sold an additional 300 season
passes. We charged an additional $2 for an all-day pass to ride the
inflatables. Nearly 14,000 participants bought the wristbands,
generating an additional $28,000 in revenue. The combination of
increased season pass sales and daily attendance boosted our
overall revenue by nearly $76,000. The daily attendance also rose
by more than 3,000 participants.
Along with the new amenities, we were also able to buy a new
variable frequency drive system, which has helped lower our utility
bill. This change enabled our general fund support to go from 46
percent in the 2007-08 fiscal year to 33 percent in the 2008-09
During the past few years, amid budget cuts and economic woes, it
has been difficult to focus on providing quality programming for
citizens. However, after the success we had, it’s become
apparent that our facilities are needed more now than ever.
It’s our responsibility to keep striving to provide the best
possible facilities and programming to our communities.
Chad Gunter is currently the senior program coordinator
– aquatics for the city of Folsom, Calif. He’s also an
American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor Trainer, Jeff Ellis &
Associates Lifeguard Instructor, and was a CPRS Aquatic Section
board member, 2007-2009.