As a manager of an outdoor public pool, perhaps you’ve been considering whether or not to try to convince the municipality to invest in a new enclosure for your facility. Or perhaps your current indoor pool is in a building that is disintegrating around it, incurring regular closures and costly repairs. Either way there is a new solution to aquatic enclosures with long term cost saving benefits. The days of traditional brick and mortar are gone… There is a new open, fresh, bright solution in town.
The enclosure of municipal pools is a rising trend throughout the United States and Canada. Long-established (older) facilities under city management are finding that they need to compete more and more with the various other activity choices that are available to the public to occupy their spare time. All are looking for a long term investment that is cost effective and unique, but also environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Facility managers who have recently enclosed their pools have found it to be well worth it, as it presents a valuable upgrade that not only makes their pool more attractive but also easier and more economical to run. This is thanks to a bundle of interlocking benefits. We are going to break these benefits down for you, in case you’re uncertain about whether or not to push for the go-ahead on that enclosure you’ve been pondering.
By enclosing your pool you will increase your attendance in two ways:
- Firstly, the facility becomes more attractive on the whole. In the public eye, the pool that they have walked and driven past every day of their lives for years will now appear to be an excitingly new and refreshed city amenity, with an eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing translucent roof design that brings a modern, state-of-the-art look. We have found that municipal pools that we have enclosed have experienced increases in attendance of up to 400%. The old municipal pool simply escapes the public’s notice. But, the brand new, aquatic facility that has just been completed creates a novelty that may prompt more people to come in and take a dip.
- Secondly, with an enclosed pool, you can stay open year round and offer a wider range of programming to meet the ever changing needs of growing populationsSwimmers can enjoy what you have to offer – come rain or shine. This could also massively improve your attendance rates because you wouldn’t have to stand idle for several months. During the summer, the roof and walls are open, so you don’t lose any of the benefits of spending a summer day at an outdoor pool. While in the colder months, it offers warmth, shelter from the weather and can be climate controlled so that people can swim looking out at the snow or rain beyond. People are likely to come back at all times of the year.
It makes sense that more attendance and more programming means more revenue. However we also know this means increased operational costs. But when the building is opened up for 4-6 months in summer some of those operating costs are removed. The result is a pool that truly allows you to earn more money. You can have 365 days of operations per year, if you choose, and regardless of your other planned program closures, you can be assured that weather will never be one of the reasons you are not earning revenue.
When you have an OpenAire retractable roof over your pool, you can open and close the panels at the touch of a button. During the day you can keep the main lights off because you have sunlight to keep the area lit. When you open the roof, you can turn off your dehumidification system and simply run fans, which saves money on the costs of energy.
The thermally broken aluminum frames resist the transfer of heat and energy, which means they keep in the solar heat, as well as that which is generated by your heating systems. In winter this benefit from ambient heat gain means you won’t have to overwork your heating systems. All of this can equal as much as 30% cost savings annually.
Better Air Quality
Enclosures that include OpenAire retractable roof systems have an edge over traditional enclosed pools in that you get the best of both the outdoor and indoor experience. Traditional aquatic buildings trap the air in, while retractable roofs enable chemical-laden air coming from the pool to be released through the roof. This improves air quality and creates a more enjoyable and breathable atmosphere, which will keep swimmers coming back and staying longer, and your staff happier.
Chemical Cost Savings
We’ve already touched on the energy cost savings, but in addition, you may also use fewer chemicals in your pool (compared to a traditional outdoor pool). That may sound too good to be true. But, you will find this especially true during the colder months when you keep the roof closed most of the time. Since it is not exposed to the outdoor environment, there is less exposure to wind borne pollutants and micro-organisms that can enter the water and increase the need for chemical treatments. You can devise a perfect, low-cost maintenance routine to keep chlorine and pH levels just right and not have to worry about too many shock treatments and playing around with a variety of chemicals to try to control any damage. You will generally have less dirt and debris to deal with, which will reduce your cleaning costs.
Better Water Quality
Having less dirt in the pool creates a double benefit for your water quality. On the one hand, the water is cleaner. And, on the other, it has lower chemical content, resulting in less air borne chemicals so the space feels and smells fresher. This is much better for swimmers’ health as there will be fewer breathing difficulties associated with chlorine, less odour as well as an environment that is more sanitary.
Added UV Protection
A pool enclosure protects both your pool and swimmers providing some protection from the sun’s UV rays. Swimmers can stay in and around the pool for much longer due to our UV-protected panels. The risk of a visit from that old poolside companion – sunburn – is drastically reduced. When you open the roof on a hot summer day, this protection is somewhat diminished, but areas of shade and cover remain at all times for those looking for relief.
Outdoor pools are exposed in more ways than one. Often, there is nothing around them but a wall or fence, and these can easily be scaled or breached. With an enclosure, the pool and its surrounding areas move indoors and can easily be locked up and secured, safely barring any undesirable elements.
Structural Superhero: Aluminum
The installation of an all aluminum retractable roof enclosure will not contribute to your ongoing maintenance costs. Our enclosures are maintenance-free. The aluminum frames resist rust and corrosion, all bolts and connections are stainless steel and our ‘baked-on’ painting technique for the aluminum means that the framework won’t ever need repainting. So, you will never have to factor enclosure repairs and maintenance into your budget. In addition, OpenAire offers a full global warranty to protect your investment, so should an issue arise, we fix it, not you.
With an enclosed pool, you have the option to add integrated features that would generally not be practical for an outdoor pool. Outdoor pool operators will rarely invest in complementary fixtures like therapy pools or hydrotherapy equipment, because they may be damaged by the weather or cause security problems. However, with an indoor aquatic center, extras such as a splash pad or water slide – which will help to attract that crucial younger market – become an option. You could also install a therapy pool or power lift. These features are only possible in cases where they will be protected from the elements. With an enclosure, a wealth of new options opens up, better enabling you to fulfill the needs of your community and increase interest and attendance.
Two factors currently drive the need to consider investment in an enclosure for your pool. On the one hand, there is a resurgence in interest in the recreational and health benefits of swimming. At the same time, there are many other forms of entertainment and distraction vying for the public’s attention, attendance and buy-in. By enclosing your pool, you cater to a rising need, while making yourself more competitive in the face of other options. Some municipalities question whether there is even a need to keep a public pool anymore. We would plead with them not close down their facilities, whether they choose to add an enclosure or not. As we have argued quite exhaustively elsewhere, a pool is not merely a recreational facility; it is a public health service. And, the more you can do to make it attractive to the public, the better.
OpenAire specializes in the kind of retractable roof enclosures that showcase a new type of aquatic facility, one that is open and airy and captures the best of all seasons, while saving municipalities money for their bottom line. Our aquatic portfolio includes multifaceted projects that we have undertaken for municipal pools across North America, all with differing requirements. Each one of them has reported seeing the benefits we have outlined here. Many swimming pools have taken it a few steps further and made use of our enclosures to expand their amenities. For example, Pocahontas Aquatic Centre in Randolph County, AR, added new pools and a waterpark to its indoor/outdoor facility. Clarksville Aquatic Centre in Clarksville, AR, added competitive swim and scuba training to their offerings. Allan Witt Aquatics Complex in Fairfield, CA, was once a disused pool building, but now hosts competitive swimming tournaments and has a separate children’s pool. Many YMCAs have also benefited from adding a retractable roof enclosure, and have seen a marked increase in their membership as a result. Some other successful projects include the Woodruff Family YMCA in Milford, CT; Copley-Price Family YMCA & Mission Valley YMCA in San Diego, CA and Magdalena Ecke YMCA in Encinitas, CA. We have also worked with a large number of water parks in the US, Canada and Russia, amongst other locations. Take a look at our extensive aquatic portfolio to view all of our completed and in-progress projects.
Contact us to discuss how we can upgrade your public pool.