Gladstone is a community with approximately 30,000 residents, completely surrounded by the northern part of Kansas City, Missouri. Without a community center and with four area high schools needing indoor pool access, Gladstone took on the challenging goal of building a facility to fill both needs.

Following a feasibility study, the final design began. A key design challenge was to balance site space, pool goals, and recreation goals with the ever present budget. Initial concepts considered a 50 meter pool, but available budget and limited site space influenced the final project goals of a short course pool with a separate diving pool and a recreation pool.

The chosen site was a park adjacent to Gladstone City Hall and their existing outdoor pool.   A combined parking area to serve the community center, indoor pool, outdoor pool and adjacent ball field helps support of this park area. 

This facility serves four high school swim teams, USA swim teams and an entire community wanting aquatic exercise, classes, lessons and youth group rentals.  A diverse list of goals challenged the design to find a balance between competition use and recreation use, while creating a fascinating aquatic center within a limited space.  The result is a three-pool concept, providing a place for recreation separate from the competition areas and ensuring that recreational activities can continue through swim practices and swim meets.

One of the key challenges with working in this restricted site and building space was being able to design a facility that would eventually one day accommodate the State of Missouri High School finals and provide seating for spectators.  The solution was a facility that would accommodate those needs while still providing a separate recreation area that wouldn’t compromise the competition pool.

This dream design focused on two distinct areas: competition and recreation.  An 8-lane short course lap pool with a separate diving pool fits the needs and preferences of the high school coaches.  The separate shallow pool serves the recreation program goals. Dividing the two pool areas is a glass wall, which benefits both types of users: the lap area temperatures are cooler than the recreation area, and usually not as noisy.  A swim meet is the obvious exception for the noise issue. Seating for 1,500 is provided.

The diving pool supports two one-meter and one three-meter springboards in a 2,500 square foot pool.  It is configured with four warm-up/cool-down lanes that benefits swim meets, practice, deep water exercise, as well as diving.  The water temperature is kept a few degrees warmer than the lap pool to benefit the divers, but also to appeal to adult lap swimmers who prefer water warmer than the lap pool but cooler than the recreation pool.  Amenities include: diving clearances that exceed “preferred” dimensions, deck level continuous gutter, sprays to disturb the surface, and Durafirm stands and boards.

The short course 4,600 square foot lap pool is configured to be a fast pool with wide lanes, wide buffer lanes, deck level gutters with an over sized gutter channel for absolute wave suppression, floor inlets for uplift recirculation.  Water depths range from four feet to six feet.  Hidden recessed lane line anchors, lane line storage under deck, and an observation window are additional features at the lap pool.

The recreation pool offers nearly 2,400 square feet of warm and shallow water for play, exercise and a little soothing relaxation at the underwater jet bench.  Themed as a playful pirate area, the recreation pool includes a zero depth beach, a raised ship wreck play area with sprays and a small slide, cannon sprays, a pirate flag dumping spray device, a water slide, and 3 lap lanes.

The interior pool enclosure has large open precast concrete building walls painted with a graphic design – warm, soothing colors transform the cold, stark walls and welcome the patrons and guests.

An innovative feature considered during the design phase was ultraviolet light.  Space in the filter room was allowed for future addition of ultraviolet light disinfection and chloramine oxidation.  Oversized filters are used (less than 10 gpm/sf loading) in anticipation of possible future coagulant or diatomaceous earth filter aid requirements for cryptosporidium removal.

By using cast in place concrete for the pool structure, concurrent building construction was allowed, thus helping a tight construction schedule.   The end result is a facility that Gladstone will be proud to have in their community.  The one problem this facility may have is not enough hours in the day to support the demand for pool time.  Except for the pool manager tasked with scheduling, perhaps this is a good problem to have.


Opened: 2007

Cost: $17.2 million (for the entire building)

Aquatic space: 28,300 square feet

Dream amenities: An 8-lane, 25-yard competition pool, recreation pool with waterslides and pirate-themed spray features, diving well with 3 diving boards, spectator seating for 1,500, and a plunge pool for future slide additions


  • Dream Designer: Water’s Edge Aquatic Design
  • Architect:Gould Evans Associates
  • Contractor: Vanum Construction


  • Aqua Recreation: Water slides
  • Chemtrol: Chemical controllers
  • Daktronics: Timing system
  • Dectron: Dehumidifiers
  • Duraflex International: Dive stands
  • Grate Technologies of Lawson Aquatics: Gutters
  • ITT Marlow,Morton: Pumps
  • KDI Paragon Aquatics: Ladders/grab bars
  • Lithonia Lighting: Lighting
  • Pulsar: Sanitization
  • Spectrum Products: Starting platforms
  • Teledyne Laars: Heaters
  • United Industries Inc.: Filters