In the summer of 2017, the mother of a teenage male child with special needs approached our staff asking for help. She could not enter the men’s locker room to assist her son with changing into dry clothes at the township’s municipal pool facility. The pool manager or a lifeguard would help as best as he could.
This prompted our administration to approve a temporary family changing area on site that included privacy screening and a portable sanitation system for this past season. It prompted the Parks and Recreation Department this off-season to review the existing amenities in the facility to determine if there was room for improvement.
The pool facility is more than 40 years old and has never been renovated, albeit areas of the locker rooms and restrooms were retrofitted over the years to conform with progressing ADA and state building regulations.In 2005, the township undertook a major renovation of the outdoor pool and grounds. This included demolition of the existing 10,000-square-foot, “L”-shaped pool, concrete pool decking and walkways. They were replaced with a 15,000-square-foot pool that included a zero-depth entry area, spraypark amenities, a drop slide and a 20-foot-tall looping flume slide. At that time, it was determined that the facilities were satisfactory and would not be part of the scope of work.
After an inspection of the facility over this past summer, we realized that there were large areas of both gender locker rooms that were underutilized and could be configured for greater use by our members.
We hired an architect to redesign these areas to maximize usable member space, while also updating the existing amenities. We proposed the addition of three family changing rooms that will include showers, sinks and toilets. We are also exploring the opportunity to increase our off-season storage capacity by re-designing the existing large, underused locker room and lounge areas that currently inhabit the facility. Existing sinks, showers, and lockers also will be replaced and their locations reconsidered.
Our goal is to enhance the overall pool facility experience for our membership. The pool itself is a welcoming feature on the property, and we want the building to be equally as inviting.
1 Listen to your members and staff. They are the individuals who walk and utilize the facility on a daily basis during the season. They may be able to offer sound advice about what works, what doesn’t, and what is needed.
2 Think creatively. We need to renovate this building, yet at the same time, keep it within an accurate budget and remodel it so that it appeals to the current membership. Barriers to participation often are not only the pool: The environment is just as important.
3 Determine a realistic time frame. When we began talking about building renovations, I believed it could be completed before the next swim season. After getting more involved with the intricacies of the design and construction, I might have to revisit my initial belief.