What a facility! 64,000 square feet dedicated to AQUATICS! These are the words written at the beginning of a description pamphlet prepared by the aquatics staff of the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. I must say that I completely agree with their assessment…. What a Facility!

When our aquatic design firm started working on this project in late 2007, we did not know at that time just where the planning of this awesome facility would lead us.

At that time, the initial discussions were to build an indoor aquatic facility that would be multi-purpose in function, with facilities that could be used by city residents for recreation, exercise, swimming lessons, competition, and maybe a bit of therapy. However, something rare happened during that initial planning process. Community visionaries stepped up to the plate and dared to imagine what such a facility could be for the community.

One of those visionaries was Christiansburg Town Manager, Lance Terpenny. Along with other Town leaders, Lance suggested approaching neighboring universities with the concept of making this facility a world-class competition venue, as well as an aquatic treasure that would serve residents of the region in a way that is rarely accomplished anywhere, let alone in a 21,000 population hamlet like Christiansburg, Virginia.

These Town visionaries saw the value that could be gained by all involved parties:

  • For the universities and all serious aquatic sport competitors, one of the best swimming and diving facilities in the world
  • For the residents of Christiansburg, an indoor aquatic center for recreation, exercise, competition, swimming lessons, and every imaginable municipal aquatic program
  • For the regional medical community, a facility for warm-water aquatic therapy and rehabilitation programs
  • For the economic health of the region, a venue for visitors to buy food, regional products, fuel, hotel stays, entertainment activities, etc.

When the surrounding universities were approached with this concept of a world-class multi-purpose aquatic facility, another amazing thing happened. The idea landed in the laps of visionaries at Virginia Tech University.  These forward thinkers took hold of the same vision and facilitated a significant monetary contribution from the University to make the project a reality.

Opened in 2010, the Christiansburg Aquatic Center is a world-class venue that is envied by all serious aquatic competitors. It is home to the Virginia Tech Swim and Diving Teams, an ACC powerhouse that now has one of the best venues ever built as a recruiting tool that will enable them to become even more formidable in the NCAA as a whole.

The Christiansburg Aquatic Center is also that discovered pearl of a resource belonging to the entire Christiansburg Region. The community not only has a year round facility for water recreation, exercise, and therapy, but also a competition venue that can be the training ground for many young aspiring aquatic sport competitors. Whether it’s swimming, diving, or water polo, residents of this region now have the facility that can truly shape the next great competitors we will all admire for their skills. After all, the Michael Phelps’s of the world have to have great training facilities to develop their full potential.

Some of the exciting aquatic amenities you will find at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center include:

Aquatic Competition

  • Swimming at 50 meters, 25 meters, and 25 yards through the use of dual 6’ wide moveable bulkheads
  • Diving with 1 meter and 3 meter springboards, and 5, 7.5, and 10 meter platforms (with state-of-the-art air sparger systems, and deck showers)
  • Water polo course
  • Synchronized swimming
  • Warm water warm-up area
  • Colorado timing and scoreboard system with video
  • Over 1,000 seats for spectators. Elevated seating area has separate climate zone from that of the pool deck areas for maximum comfort of spectators and competitors alike.

Aquatic Recreation

  • Separate warm-water family leisure pool. The family leisure and therapy pools are in a room separated from the competition pool area by a glass wall so that optimum room and water temperatures can be maintained perfectly in both rooms.
  • Beach style entry
  • Triple loop water slide
  • Spray and play features
  • Tumble buckets
  • Exercise lap lanes

Aquatic Therapy and exercise

  • Separate warmer-water therapy pool
  • Ramp and stair entry
  • Underwater benches
  • ADA lift

Other aquatic amenities that are part of the facility

  • Wet classrooms
  • Locker facilities
  • Family changing rooms
  • Private lounge and locker area for the Virginia Tech Hokies

We, at Aquatic Design Consultants, Inc., are extremely proud of our association with this facility as the designers of the pools and diving facilities. The lead building architects, Reynolds Architects, Inc. are also thrilled with the results.

Beyond this stellar facility, you will find a charming community full of southern hospitality with some of the most spectacular natural beauty in America. Located in the southwestern part of Virginia in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Christiansburg has something to appeal to all age groups.In summary, if you or your aquatic club or group wants to book time at this world-class facility for your next outing or meet, I strongly recommend you contact the professional aquatic staff at this facility.  The Director of Aquatics, Terry Caldwellwill gladly help you. She has been the manager of this facility since its’ opening, and can customize your experience perfectly.

If I were booking an event for my swim club, Christiansburg would be at the top of the list for must see destinations that the whole family will enjoy.

Once again, the best phrase we have to describe the Christiansburg Aquatic Center is….  What a Facility!

Another Article in Collegiate Times.
Ahhh….there is nothing better than summer recreation at a modern municipal swimming pool. Fun at the pool is a tradition as American as apple pie and baseball. Come to think of it, it has probably surpassed both of these in the hearts of most people.

The City of Belton, health Missouri is not a lot different from other American cities with 24,000 residents. The residents take great pride in where they live and want to make their community the best it can be for their families. The schools are great, it is a safe and clean city, and they have many wonderful park and recreation offerings that enrich their lives.

Until the summer of 2011 though, one thing they did not have was a nice outdoor swimming pool where they could enjoy that great American pastime of outdoor fun in the sun at a city pool.

Oh, they had an old outdoor pool, but it was not much of a pleasure to use.  Constructed in 1967, the rectangular shaped pool had many problems that made its use a lackluster experience at best.

From the physical deterioration of the old pool, decks and bathhouse, to its lack of anything really fun to do (even the old diving boards had to be removed for safety reasons), it had just become a “worn out” and boring pool. It was much more fun for residents to enjoy Belton’s great indoor pools at the community center than to visit the old and deteriorated outdoor pool.

Still, there is just something about being outdoors enjoying the sunshine and a nice swimming pool that kept gnawing at residents. Finally, after much discussion, a property tax measure was put on the ballot to build a new outdoor swimming pool along with several other improvements to the City’s parks.

In November of 2010, residents overwhelmingly approved the property tax measure, and the design team of Aquatic Design Consultants, Inc. and WNB Architects began design of a new, recreationally focused, outdoor aquatic facility to bring summertime pool fun back to Belton.

Below is a video of the end product:

One of the great challenges of this project was the tight budget we had for pool construction. Since the property tax measure included many park related improvements in addition to the swimming pool,our pool construction budget was capped at $1.7 million (not including bathhouse renovations.) We were challenged to design a high impact, waterpark style facility that would have a capacity for 450 people at a time.

Our other challenge was to design the facility, receive bids for construction, and have the facility completed and open for use by July 4th, 2011. This gave us just eight months, mostly during the nasty winter weather, to accomplish all of these tasks. Do I hear anybody saying, challenge?

Nothing gets our design team pumped up like a great challenge that requires maximum creativity and veteran aquatic facility knowledge to succeed. We were primed and ready to make things happen. Without skipping a beat (with this schedule there were no beats to spare), we dove headlong into the project.

After design was complete, a local commercial pool builder with an excellent reputation in the business, KC Gunite, was awarded the project as low bidder for construction. As a veteran designer I cannot even begin to tell you how critical it is to have a highly qualified pool builder on such a project. Suffice it to say, without a qualified pool builder; success is much harder, if not impossible, to come by.

The other key player in this project was the owner. As the representative for the City, Todd Spalding,Belton’s Parks and Recreation Director, was the perfect person to have for a successful project as ambitious as this one.

To say the least, Todd was tenacious at getting permits in place and owner decisions made quickly and effectively. He authorized expenditures judiciously and wisely, as if it were his own money. You know things are going to go well when everyone on the team, from the owner to the designers and contractors, are all positive, “can do “ people. Todd is as “can do” as they come.

The end result of everyone’s efforts is a beautiful facility that has blown away all of the expectations the Belton residents had. The facility is concisely located were the old pool was demolished and includes many modern waterpark style amenities such as:

  • Premium slide complex with a tube slide and speed slide sharing a single tower
  • Lazy river traversing through the entire facility
  • Zero depth, beach style entry area
  • Children’s shallow-water interactive play structure with slide
  • Underwater bench areas for parents to relax and watch the kids
  • Floating obstacle course
  • Water basketball and volleyball area
  • Shade structures throughout the facility and in some water areas
  • Comfortable deck furnishings for resting and relaxing
  • Renovated bathhouse facilities with concessions
  • Modern filtration and automated treatment systems to keep the water clean and safe for users

The facility is an absolute gem for the residents of Belton. It also fits well into the City’s overall park master plan. In the future, as population grows, a larger outdoor facility will be constructed. Even at that time, this facility has been designed to fit perfectly within the City’s overall aquatic facility offerings.

For more information about this project you may want to contact our design firm or Todd Spaldingwith the City of Belton. For specifics about the facility, such as hours of operation and location, please visit their website.