Shawnee’s 7,600-square-foot leisure pool and 6,600-square-foot bathhouse complex opened in late spring of 2007 for use by the residents and guests. The primary project challenge was to replace an existing outdated city park, add a new parking lot while keeping the adjoining Wonderscope children’s museum fully operational during construction. Additionally, the design of new pool complex had to complements the “design intent” of the existing museum, adding an exciting aquatic experience and providing accessible parking for both the new aquatic center and the museum. Wonderscope, was designed to “shrink the real world down to size of a five year old.” The complementing design concept for the family aquatic center, Splash Cove, was just the opposite: “Shrink the five year old down to the size of a small fish in a sea world.”

The new facility was geared toward small children because an existing outdoor family aquatic center accommodates the needs of the general population. That facility has a 50-meter competition pool with diving well; 25-yard competition pool; and instructional pool/leisure pool with a current channel, two slides, vortex pool and a zero depth entry wading pool.

The West Pool was renovated and had become very overcrowded which generated a large number of complaints from residents. Designers were careful not to duplicate any of the features from that facility at Splash Cove. When Splash Cove opened, overcrowding and complaints stopped in the West Pool and the total aquatic usage increased 150 percent, from 90,000 to 143,500 users.

Main activity areas within the new 7,600 square foot pool include a large zero depth entry leisure pool with five water geysers, play element themed for young kids, a body slide and an instructional area. There’s also a wave Pool scaled and themed for five-year-olds.

The design concept for the bathhouse building was focused on two elements: 1) creating the image of going to the beach and walking into the water (under sea world) with texture and color palette of the “beach” and 2) playfully complimenting the design colors of the next door children’s museum. As a result, the primary concrete masonry for the bathhouse is both smooth and split faced blocks that were colored matched to the “sandy beach and foamy water surf.”

The roof is primarily blue-gray asphalt shingles accented with large open wooden truss vault at the entry. Suspended under this truss vault is a series of curvy blue canvas “waves,” designed to give the feel of “walking into the surf and then under the water.

Additionally, the project’s design plan provides an open view of the pool area and bathhouse to passers by. It is located next to the city’s “Old Town” and greatly complements the city’s goal of giving the old city center a new image.  By branding this facility as a fun family facility that enhances the existing children’s museum, operators have increased the usage of the museum, old city center and local retailers.

Today Splash Cove has met or exceeded all the City’s expectations. It has restored the “quality of life” image desired for the future of Shawnee and replaces a pool that was functionally obsolete, expensive to operate and forced residents to use one city swim facility.


Opened: 2007

Cost: $4.7 million

Aquatic space: 14,200 square feet

Dream amenities: A wave pool scaled for children and a zero-depth entry leisure pool with five water geysers, a play structure, body slide and attached instructional area.


  • Dream Designer: Yarger Design Group Inc.
  • Architect: Yarger Design Group Inc.
  • Aquatic Designer: Aquatic Excellence
  • Additional Contributors: Shafer, Kline & Warren Inc., Ædifica Larsono Engineering of Missouri, target="_blank">SWT Design, WIT Design Inc.


  • Aqua Play 360: Water-play equipment
  • Grace Construction Products: Masonry
  • Lenox Lockers, Bradley Corp.: Lockers
  • Olympic Pool & Deck Coatings: Pool coating
  • Sunport: Sun shades
  • White Water West Industries: Water slides
  • Una-Clad: Sheet metal roof