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, 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.