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Case Study

Woodruff Family YMCA


The aquatics-focused Woodruff Family YMCA is a favorite swim destination for the residents of Milford, Connecticut. Members love being able to swim outdoors; previously, the Y had extended pool usage year-round with an air- inflated bubbled that was inefficient, unattractive and extensive to run and maintain.

However, the facility was about to undergo a major overhaul; one of the main challenges of the project was finding a pool enclosure to replace the existing bubble, which had reached the end of its lifespan. Putting in a new one was not an option; it had too many drawbacks. For one, they had already gone through two bubbles, and were not interested in a third. Putting it up and taking it down every year was a huge hassle. The bubble often collapsed during storms, which led to costly repairs and facility closures. Plus, poor seams and leaks in the structure meant they were literally pumping hot air into the atmosphere. And when the bubble was up, it created an atmosphere described by users as “gloomy.”

They needed a solution that would let them offer the desired outdoor swim experience while still providing a year-round swim program – all in an attractive, functional and cost-effective enclosure that would complement their new facility. Their end goal was to increase their 4000-person member base to 6000 over two years.


After researching a number of options and visiting the OpenAire enclosure at Clark County YMCA, the Woodruff Family YMCA chose OpenAire. It was a solution that completely addressed all of their challenges; the striking, elegant structure enhances the look of the new facility, the maintenance- free aluminum structure saves costs and hassles, and the operable roof and retractable walls – which open up the building by 50% – offer the sunny, fresh-air swim experience their members want.

The structure spans over 100 feet (30.5 m) to accommodate the Z-shape of the pool and its proximity to the building. The offset ridge, high sidewalls, and “sawtooth” footprint offer a unique look that works well with the sweeping curves of the adjacent facility.

It’s a great environment. For the YMCA, the pool is one of the key tools for us,” says Charlie Clifford, Executive Director, Woodruff Family YMCA. “We chose OpenAire because we felt it would provide a significant difference and really make the YMCA a wonderful aquatic attraction.

Zero Maintenance

Unlike the costly air-inflated bubble, OpenAire’s maintenance-free, thermally broken aluminum framing system withstands moisture and caustic chemicals and never needs to be repainted. It can also withstand severe weather, and has a significantly longer life cycle, so they no longer have to deal with expensive maintenance and replacement issues.

Woodruff YMCA

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