Perfect Harmony

A vibrant atmosphere is created when people can see simultaneous activities occurring, along with unrestricted views to the outdoors.

A vibrant atmosphere is created when people can see simultaneous activities occurring, along with unrestricted views to the outdoors.

should be near a barrier-free entrance equipped with automatic door openers.  Benches need to be strategically located to allow rest and recovery. Bathrooms also should be conveniently located to minimize walking distances.

Important for everyone—but especially appropriate for the youngest and oldest users—is the creation of a simple circulation pattern that allows for easy and intuitive navigation of the facility. Reliance on signage is a disappointing substitute to planning an inherently navigable building. When a facility is “transparent” and open, it not only assists visitors with navigation, but also contributes to a welcoming environment that feels safe and is easy to manage with minimal staff.

Multi-Use Elements

Architectural design elements play an important part in the functioning of an inherently multi-use facility. At the high school, a 300-foot-long undulating glass façade creates two separate entries: one for high-school activities and special events, and another for access to the community functions occurring in the leisure pool. The façade also ties the new addition together and “re-brands” the high school as more than an academic institution, but also as the community’s indoor aquatic center. The leisure pool pays homage to the high-school mascot with the application of a large tiger-head tile mural located on the pool bottom’s shallow-water zone.

The wall also maintains functional separation and climate control. At the same time, its transparency also creates an open and welcoming environment. A vibrant atmosphere is created when people can see simultaneous activities occurring, along with unrestricted views to the outdoors.

Operational Efficiencies

Two staff members manage and maintain the pools. One serves as the recreation director who schedules usage, while the other monitors the chemical levels in the pools and supervises daily cleaning and long-term maintenance. Cooperation and communication between personnel is critical for a smooth operation. The athletic staff, faculty, maintenance staff, and community groups all need to be in the communication loop to maintain mutual expectations for use of a shared facility.

A Point Of Pride

The community’s decision to design and build a multi-use facility that truly is multi-use included the commitment to fund the additional critical amenities. The district and community found that the extra dollars invested paid off in a big way with high patron usage, user satisfaction, and community pride. As a rule, the investment costs when incorporated at the onset of the planning process will be significantly lower, and the rewards will outshine the relatively low first cost in capital spending.

From all accounts, the planning and commitment of the community succeeded with a facility that is well-used and well-liked. With the cooperation and collaboration of residents, Allegan was able to go from no indoor aquatic venue to a state-of-the-art facility that is a point of pride and a measurable asset to the community. The project demonstrates that it is possible to maximize hard-earned capital and provide a value to residents. Embraced by the community, the facility experiences a high level of use and is a true destination. It has indeed become an important part of the fabric of this small community with a big heart!

David W. Larson, AIA is Senior Vice President and Director of Design for TMP Architecture, Inc., in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Reach him at dlarson@tmp-architecture.com.

Page 2 of 2 | Previous page

Related posts:

  1. Finding Purpose
  2. Winning Over Residents
  3. Pooling Sailboat Skills
  4. Foresight
  5. Aquatic Playgrounds

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

HTML tags are not allowed.

  • Columns
  • Departments