Swim Lessons

Adaptability is an important concept for Medina's recreation center. The adaptability thread goes from room to room and area to area.

In the aquatics area, one of the important adaptable features is the spray ground.

"If we see that this isn't as popular as we hope it is, we're able to change it extremely easily. If we need to put a small slide there, or we need to put a climbing net, we might have to do that, so we needed to make sure it was adaptable to change," says Kenn Kaminski director of parks and recreation for the City of Medina, Ohio.

"If you're not able to change and keep up with the demands of the public, you'll see that in the bottom line."

It was also important that the spray ground was open enough to provide a good line of sight for lifeguards.

Working off of experiences from surrounding communities, Kaminski found that tightly packed spray grounds required additional lifeguards to watch the area.

At the new recreation center in Longmont, Colo., a spray ground was also installed, as well as two slides.

Because of the unique lifeguarding challenges associated with what is basically water park equipment, and because Longmont does not have an indoor water park, the city opted to provide special training.

"It all boils down to training, and our aquatics people have brought up their training a notch to include specific water park training," says Troy Houtman, facility supervisor for the Longmont Recreation Center.

"The American Red Cross has a section that focuses on water park training and that's what we use here."

Both cities have added unique features to their aquatic centers.

Medina has installed the Poseidon drowning detection system as a boost to its safety -- it's the first one installed in Ohio and Medina is the third city in the nation to have one installed.

Longmont has a circulation system that sends humid, chlorinated air out of the building, while bringing in drier air from the outside.

It significantly cuts down on what can be a relatively noxious situation, making the patrons' experience that much better, though they may not know exactly why.

Kaminski sums up the goal behind both cities' aquatics centers that drove the designs, "We have a tremendous amount of young families looking for continuous activities for children. The leisure pool is the big draw, meeting the needs of toddlers to senior citizens. When we designed that we wanted to make it as much of a fun-filled family activity as possible."