December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 49

OPERATIONS
From Condemned Pool to Award-Winning
Regional Aquatics Center
A case study on the 15-year journey of the El Centro Aquatic Center
By Dennis Berkshire
I
n 2008, the only aquatics center in El Centro - a city located approximately
90 miles south of Palm Springs in Imperial County, California
- closed due to maintenance and repair issues. In 2010, an
earthquake caused further damage, rendering the facility permanently
closed. The city then partnered with Aquatic Design Group to create a feasibility
study and master plan for a new aquatics center that would provide
a year-round aquatics experience to Imperial County.
City leadership and staff from the
design firm toured several Southern
California aquatics centers and met
with a wide range of stakeholders,
including the local school district,
YMCA, higher-education institutions,
USA swim team and other
local businesses, to establish the
goals of the project. However, the
process faced multiple challenges,
including limited land space and
through-traffic, as well as community
members facing homelessness
who sought shelter on the site.
To overcome these challenges, city
staff worked closely with the design
firm and the community to develop
creative solutions that would elicit
a community-positive end result.
A pass-through street was closed
to facilitate the construction of the
new park, and a bilingual community
outreach effort was employed
to ensure the new aquatics center
would meet the needs of all members
of the community. Input from
individuals at the senior living center
located across the street also was
invaluable, helping to make sure the
facility could serve patrons of every
age, ethnicity and background.
The Result
El Centro now boasts an awardwinning
facility that offers an eightlane,
25-yard competition pool,
a circular interactive children's/
recreational pool with 12 unique
interactive water-play features, an
instructional and fitness pool, a lazy
river, support buildings, and space
for a future water slide adjacent to
A zero-depth entry ramp and plenty
of deck seating make the lazy river
an accessible amenity for all ages and
abilities.
50 Parks & Recreation | DECEMBER 2 0 2 3
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
the lazy river. With more than 13,500
square feet of water of various depths
and temperatures, the aquatics center
offers a
wide
array of aquatics
programming to meet the present and
future needs of any El Centro and
Imperial County regional resident.
With the size, location, and variety
of swimming and recreational
water activities the center can offer,
the aquatics center is used for family
fun, swim competitions and training,
therapeutic activities, lifeguard
training, border patrol and sheriff
training, and other events. To further
meet the diverse needs of area
residents, the City of El Centro has
developed a cost structure for using
the aquatics center on a variety of
levels, including individual day use,
family rates, summer passes and annual
membership, along with rates
for private parties and events.
The El Centro Aquatic Center is
not only a recreational asset, but also
an economic one. The center currently
employs 24 lifeguard and swim instructors
between the ages of 16 and
25. Additionally, the City of El Centro
has been a member of the American
Red Cross Centennial Campaign
since 2013. This partnership allows
the city to grow its learn-to-swim program
by offering swim lesson scholarships
for children and adults.
Dennis Berkshire is President of
Aquatic Design Group, Inc.
(dberkshire@aquaticdesigngroup.com).
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE TORREY PHOTOGRAPHY

December 2023 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2023 - Parks & Recreation

December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 1
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 2
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 3
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 4
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 5
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 6
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 7
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 8
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 9
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 10
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 11
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 12
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 13
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December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 16
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 17
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 18
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 19
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 20
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 21
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 22
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 23
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December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 46
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December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 48
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 49
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - 50
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December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
December 2023 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
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https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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