Prior to completion of Southeast Missouri State University’s Student Aquatic Center in 2007, the campus had been without swimming facilities for four years. University officials believed opening an indoor aquatics facility would increase marketability to potential students because other universities in the region have such facilities for extracurricular activities. In developing the new aquatic center, designers carefully placed the building to offer the most cost-effective solution. The team worked within site constraints while maximizing daylight and views.
For lap swimming, the facility includes a 6-lane-by-25-yard lap pool. There’s also a 12-person whirlpool spa, men’s and women’s locker facilities, on-deck steam and sauna rooms, administrative and lifeguard offices, an aquatic multi-purpose room, a first-aid office, and storage space. The tropical-theme facility was planned with a number of sustainable design principles, including designing the site for minimal impact, specifying materials with low levels of VOC content where possible, and utilizing efficient building mechanical systems.
The most noteworthy feature of the leisure pool is a one-of-a-kind realistic bouldering wall with a variety of climbing holds for all levels of expertise.Southeast Missouri State’s 40-foot-wide-by-14-foot-high wall allows users to climb and fall into the 7-foot-deep leisure pool. Taking four weeks to complete, it was formed upon dozens of concrete fabricated panels mounted on a steel cage. All rock features were cast in place, using forms based on real rocks, and the result is a wall that looks and feels like real rock, providing as close to a real-life climbing experience as possible. The leisure pool also includes water basketball and volleyball areas, a rope swing, a “bubble-bench” overlooking windows framing the pool’s vanishing edge, and a zip line.