Adding an Indoor Pool to Your Club?

Here are 10 Keys to Getting the Most for your Money

Water and oil don't mix, but water and exercise certainly do, and aquatic exercise is here to stay for Fitness Club owners who want a competitive edge over their dry-land competitors. As competitive pressures and construction costs rise in tandem, it is more important than ever for club owners who opt for water programming to get it right. Before you dive into an indoor aquatics project of any size, consider these 10 points to prevent design oversights:

  1. Water Temperature: Lap swimmers can tolerate nothing warmer than 82 Aquatic exercisers and students in swim lessons want nothing colder than 86 degrees. Rehabilitation and therapy users require temperatures of 90 degrees or higher. Therefore, owners of many full service clubs are building three separate pools to deliver optimal water temperatures for aquatic activities. Hot whirlpools must reach 105 degrees, and cold plunge pools must maintain 55 degrees. Often, these pools are adjacent to each other, which can result in cooling systems fighting heating systems. Non­ insulated cold piping that shares a pipe trench with non-insulated hot piping will lead to a lifetime of excessive energy costs and dissatisfied members.
  2. Heating and Cooling the Water: For both indoor and outdoor venues, the science of heating and cooling pool water requires careful analysis of loads, equipment sizing, routing of piping and energy And don’t rule out solar assisted heating. The savings you'll get on your energy bills from solar heating can pay back the added cost of roof-mounted solar collectors. These are all engineering matters.  You are not an engineer.  Get help from qualified aquatic professionals who are not in the business of selling pool equipment.
  3. Water Treatment: The hype about salt-based chlorination systems is The water feels better, smells cleaner, looks clearer and is easier on the skin and the eyes. The key to success for salt chlorination is three­ fold. You must understand bather load, as high bather densities may rule out salt systems. Specify on-site system start-up assistance and pool operator training by the salt system vendor. And you must detail compatible systems and components for filtration, heating, pH balance and corrosion resistance – another job for a qualified aquatic design professional.
  4. Indoor Air Quality: Deck-level air exhaust is absolutely essential to remove chloramines from the lap swimmer’s breathing This is best accomplished by exhausting the surge tank and gutter chamber and by locating return air grills at deck level. In all but the driest of climates, you must provide mechanical dehumidification of an indoor pool environment. These dehumidification units are large, heavy, difficult-to-locate pieces of equipment that require regular maintenance.
  5. Indoor Air Balance: No one likes to detect the odor of a pool when they walk into the main lobby of a club and doors alone won't do the The best prevention method is to maintain positive air pressure in all dry areas and negative air pressure in all wet areas. This assures a steady migration of air from dry areas to wet areas and fights against the upstream flow of odor/vapor­laden air.
  6. Corrosion: Avoid the use of steel components -- even stainless steel -- in aquatic This includes door handles, grab rails and fasteners. Safe material choices include glass, concrete, aluminum, and ceramic tile and epoxy coatings. Use of dry wall and acoustic ceiling panels in a pool environment should be avoided.  Total containment of vapor migration through all perimeter walls of the natatorium is a must. This requires a vapor barrier.
  7. Optimizing the User Experience: All pools should have step-in/step-out access Many people in the prime target market for aquatic programming will not do well with ladder-only climb outs. Depth profiles should be purpose driven. Lane walking is a common entry-level aquatic exercise and requires consistent lane-by-lane depths with some variation for individual height. Be mindful of your lane widths for lap swimmers. Know your customer. Only the most capable lap swimmers can share a lane.  For them, you can provide full competitive lane widths of 7 feet, 6 inches. The typical recreational lap swimmer, on the other hand, prefers a private lane that can be 5 to  6 feet in width.
  8. Gutters Skimmers: For superior water quality and wave quelling, the simple - although more expensive - choice is a gutter pool with a continuous perimeter gutter which can likely add $35,000 to  $75,000 to the cost of a pool.
  9. Decks and Deck Hands down, the best deck finish choice for cost, esthetics, cleanliness, non-slip and durability are 1-inch by 1-inch ceramic mosaic tiles. The best choice for deck drainage is a recessed strip drain located at the junction of the deck and pool shell. If styling and disctinctive esthetics are a priority, more expensive and great looking options are available. Where economy is a  priority, a smooth, light broom finish concrete will suffice but be prepared for staining issues as concrete can be difficult to maintain as a pristine surface.
  10. ADA Compliance: Avoid ramped entries into pools. Underwater ramps can be slippery, are a huge waste of water surface and are unneeded for disabled Deck-mounted hoists or transfer platforms will satisfy accessibility requirements.

Much of the advice offered above, can be boiled down to a simple suggestion: Seek professional assistance and use this blog as an agenda for the design kick-off meeting!