View Full Version : Building a pool...where to begin?

February 6th, 2003, 04:08 PM
After reading the thread, “bad pools” I can relate! My swim team has been cut to two lanes-making it difficult for 10-15 people to lap swim. We have had several problems including swimming against bugs who swim faster than we do, pool temperature at a constant 86 degrees, and a difficult club manager. We have tried talking with the club; however, it is the only pool in town. We have discussed the idea of building a pool; however, we have no idea where to begin. Our goal is to build a competitive pool that the high school, age group, and masters teams could use for practices and competitions. We are in a great location—a city of 250,000 and several small towns in the surrounding area. We would like to bring several new “aquatics” ideas to this area. We are only 10 years behind the rest of the world! We are having a difficult time finding a “ball park” estimate of what it would cost for a 50m pool with a diving well. Does anyone have some suggestions of where we should start? Thanks!!

Rob Copeland
February 6th, 2003, 04:34 PM
You may want to check out :

USA Swimming Build A Pool Handbook
this handbook is a collection of articles from leaders in the aquatic industry. The wide range of topics includes everything from creating a budget to aquatic programming. The handbook is divided into 4 sections: Facility Budgeting & Costs, Facility Design, Facility Equipment and Aquatic Programming. An appendix is also included that lists resources, facility standards and economic impact information. (each)
Item # 300008 - $10.00

It is available from USA-Swimming, look on their web site at http://www.usa-swimming.org/programs/template.pl?opt=news&pubid=908

Sorry about the long link name if this does not work, just try
then click on “Shopping Mall”.

February 7th, 2003, 12:08 PM
To go along with the worst pool thread, why don't we help out here with some discussion/ideas about what makes a pool and its related facilities really great! This club might want to incooperate some of the ideas into their plans.

I swim in a Y pool. It is very basic, six lanes, 25 yards, 4 feet to 12 feet deep. The gutters are flat tiled surfaces that are about a foot wide, which allows a swimmer to push up and sit on them. The edge of the pool is about another 4 or 5 inches above the gutters. The temperature is kept between 78 and 80 degrees. In the 2 years I've been swimming there I've only seen the water cloudly one time. Three lanes are for lap swimmers. The ceiling is a very high pitched cathederal ceiling with sunlights. This sometimes causes COLD condensation to come plopping down on a warm body! One side of the pool enclosure is all glass and looks out onto a private courtyard with chairs for sunning on nice days--the enclosure even gets warm enough in the early winter and spring to enjoy some fresh air. The street side windows are very high off the ground and frosted for privacy. There is a great hot tub in the pool area. The dressing rooms have both saunas and steamrooms. (imho these are necessities to ease achie muscles)
The worst thing about this pool 1) the lane lines and crosses on the sides are black tile, very pretty, but slippery... when turning my feet will occasionally slip, 2) the fan that moves the air around in the pool area is very loud and its hard to talk over/hear, 3) the deck surface can get a little bit slippery too 4) there aren't enough chairs/benches/hooks in the pool area to put towels, eye glasses, etc.

Like I said, its basic but compared to some of the horror stories in the Worst Pool thread I have nothing to complain about!


February 7th, 2003, 01:17 PM
The pool I am in charge of was built by Acapulco Pools located in Kitchner Ontario (519) 743-6357.

Another resource might be these pool supply pool vendors, they may not build pools but probably come in contact with pool builders and would probably know who to contact

Spectrum Aquatics ; Missoula, MT (800) 776 -5309

Lincoln Equipment ; Concord, CA (800) 223-5450

Brock Enterprises ; Hamden, CT (800) 332-2360

Hope this helps. Good Luck


February 7th, 2003, 03:35 PM
Thinking off the top of my head, here are a number of things that many pools do wrong that are very easy to do right if you think about it:

* Make the diving well separate if you can. This allows you to keep the diving well water warmer than the competition pool.
* Put in a lot of deck space. Then put in more. Has anyone ever been to a pool that had "enough" deck space?
* Think about storage. Whatever storage space you're building in - double it, at least. There's no such thing as a pool with too much storage.
* Think about running swim meets. Think about where the timing system goes, where meet operations goes, etc. If you put this area above the pool deck level (such as in the spectator area above), make sure there is a fast easy way to get from the "booth" to the pool deck. Also, consider a closed-off deck-level area that is air conditioned for meet operations.
* Think about wires, cabling and electricity. Put in enough electrical to cover any need you might have. Put in plenty of electricity for wherever you want to have a concession stand. The meet operations area needs electricity. Everything should be networked. There should be water-sealed outlets around the pool for data plug in if you need to run a check-in table somewhere on deck, etc.
* Think about traffic patterns and security for different events. Where are people coming from, and going to? Can you design entrances so that everyone flows through a single choke point area so it's easy to get information to people if you need to? Is it easy to keep spectators off the pool deck for certain events?
* Walls. People will tape things to the walls. So make the walls with something that resists tape damage. (I.e., use tiles on the walls instead of a painted or other surface).
* PA. Think about how you will be doing public address, and designing so that people can hear the PA system everywhere in the pool. For big meets, does your PA also work out in the hallway where your concession stand is?
* Deep. Make it deep enough to be a good fast pool.
* Climate. Skylights can be awkward (as someone else pointed out)... both with cold winter condensation, and also blinding sunlight during backstroke events.
* Multi-use. Think about designing such that you can get as many uses as you can.. swimming, diving, aquarobics, fitness, water polo, etc.
* Locker rooms. Put in enough showers. Has anyone ever been to a pool that had too many showers?


February 9th, 2003, 01:06 PM
Great ideas! Thank you for your thoughts.................the main problem is getting the money together. We have people who want an aquatics center and want to see it happen. We have a club that has an indoor and outdoor pool...but, refuses to open their doors to the high schools without a large price tag attached! The kids in this area (including masters) have a lot of talent and I think it's a shame that we don't have a facility. Ok, I'm going to climb down from my soap box. I know many lap swimmers face the same problems. Everybody pray that the lottery gods smile on us!!

February 11th, 2003, 10:39 PM
How 'bout if I mention a few don't wannas? Like, don't have as many as 24 lanes from side to side in a 50 meter pool to accommodate casual short course practice, 'cause the lanes will be too narrow for circle swimming or even split lanes for practice comfortably. If ya did, your lanes would be less than 7 feet wide, not counting the lane dividers!

Also, don't go for lane lines with nice soft colors. Even swimmers with goggles have vision problems that are exaggerated when the lanes blend with the water. School colors? If they are blue or green they blend in with the water like camouflage.

Make sure that the pace clocks are visible from everywhere. And if they are digital have them big enough and light enough and without glare!

And how about "friendly " lane lines that don't cut or bruise your hands every week or so?

And how about ladders that protrude into the side lanes? If they are already in existing pools, that's one thing, but please!!!

And how often was poor lighting mentioned by those recalling their worst experiences?

These for starters...

February 12th, 2003, 10:52 AM
A sizable chunk of the funds that built our old Y pool, and the new Y "water park" & pool, at another location, was from a local philanthropist. Is there one in your town your club might approach with your plans? You might also check into government grants for funding.

February 12th, 2003, 07:11 PM
Most local philanthropists are more interested in giving money for a steak house or tex mex food!:p

February 18th, 2003, 09:29 PM
If you want a ball park estimate, you will need to give a few more details. Part of the cost of a facility as you describe is the cost associated with the height of the ceiling. If you want a great deal of spectator area and/or something more than a 3 meter diving board, then the costs go up quite a bit. From your description, you are probably looking at some where between $5 and 25 million.

February 19th, 2003, 11:41 AM
We would like to have a facility for divers and swimmers. We don't need a lot of seating; however, maybe enough for high school and masters swim meets. (300 people) My dream would be to have a 50 m pool with a separate diving well; however, the reality would most likely be a 25m people deep enough for diving and competitive swimming. Our high schools are in serious risk of loosing their programs. The pool depth that their using is 3'6'' not deep enough for competitive swimming. The diving area is deep enough; however, if swimming goes...so will diving.

February 19th, 2003, 12:56 PM
Check out Marshall & Swift as a starting point. As a Commerical Real Estate Appraiser I use them occassionally to check against figures I've obtained from other sources. You won't get accurate figures the way you would if you got competitive bids from several pool contractors, but it will be a starting point. Note that in their section on Commercial Swimming Pools they state that Olympic competition or municipal pools may run 100% above listed costs. Also be aware that if you use their data you need to use their current cost multipliers as well as their local multipliers to adjust for your particular location in the Country. Their data is not free. They can be found on the web at http://www.marshallswift.com/index.asp

February 19th, 2003, 05:22 PM
It sounds a little like the high schools that I swam in as kid. But having 3 feet or 4 feet at the swallow end was acceptable in those days back in the 1970's because everyone dived pretty swallow even with a grab start back then. My complained about modern pools is that they are too deep. I can't get out of pool without a laddar or someone's help. My high school had the youngest pool in the district built in 1968 and I think it was mainly 4 feet deep and had a separate diving tank. Good luck on finding a more modern swim pool. I don't remember the bugs too much and most of the pools were not that warm. In those days they like to keep the water at 78 or below.

Kevin in MD
February 20th, 2003, 10:00 AM
Should cut the cost of construction.

Apparently a training pool costs 60K for 25 meters. Not including the cost of the building and plumbing and such and installation.

Emmett pointed out a while back that pools can try to be too much. His point was that instead of one big 50 meter pool it is wise to have a warm pool for water aerobics and a separate one for swimming, possibly even a third that is up around 90degrees for the arthritis classes (very popular at our place) which need temperatures higher than the water aerobics folks.

February 20th, 2003, 10:50 AM
you might possibly consider one 25 meter indoor pool and a 25 meter outdoor pool to help cut cost of construction... and use an inflatable dome during the winter over the outdoor pool. Maybe the diving well could be outside and only used during the warm months... that might cut construction costs.

I would like to hear from people who swim in an outdoor pool covered with a dome during the winter. Is it acceptable? What has been your experience with it?