Shawnee County is a growing community in the heart of central Kansas. To support the expanding population and update aging aquatic amenities, civic leaders began a pool project several years ago. The plan was to build a facility that provides versatility and options for all user groups. The end result was the Shawnee County Aquatic Center, opened in 2006.

Today, it attracts patrons from miles away. Created as a waterpark, the facility features a three-pool design encompassing many of todayís state-of-the art features, such as zero-depth entry, rockscaping and elaborate play structures. It also has more traditional diving and lap swimming spaces. Ample green areas surround the facility, enhancing its look and further secluding it from day-to-day city life.

Perhaps the most striking element about the center is its theme, chosen to match the local high schoolís sports name: The Vikings. As patrons approach the facility, they are met at an entrance breezeway featuring scalloped siding and elaborate wood detailing with the Viking-era look and feel. Other innovative features, such as the Viking rock overhang on the lazy river and the fantasy Viking play feature, complete the theme.

During the fact-finding phase, Shawnee County chose a new location for the aquatics facility, which provided challenges for site design. At the new location, designers worked with different elevations for each pool to accommodate the natural landscape and still encompass all the expected features. To complete the design, the team utilized the highest elevation point as parking, providing a nice view overlooking the park.

In developing this project, the goal was a 40- to 50-year life span, and it was undertaken with a forward-thinking approach. The resulting waterpark provides space for future additions and amenities, which have been under discussion since Shawnee County Aquatic Center opened. Indeed, the park has become a testament to Shawnee Countyís civic development. It serves as a premium outdoor facility, provides numerous programming opportunities and fulfills the communityís needs for recreation space.


Opened: 2006

Cost: $3.6 million

Aquatic space:19,300 square feet

Dream amenities:A lap/diving pool; wading pool; lazy river; multiple water slides; themed toddler slides; shade structures


  • Dream Designer: Water’s Edge Aquatic Design
  • Architect: Siemmons Associates Architects
  • Mechanical/Electrical Engineering, Plumbing: Hoss & Brown Engineers


  • Aurora Pump:Pumps
  • Chemtrol: Chemical controllers
  • Duraflex International:Dive stands
  • Grate Technologies: Gutters
  • KDI Paragon: Starting blocks, ladders / grab bars
  • Laars Heating Systems: Heaters
  • Lithonia Lighting: Lighting
  • SCS Interactive: Water-play structure
  • Splashtacular: Water slides
  • Sun Ports: Shade structure
  • United Industries: Filters