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Built From Scratch

Aquatic Center

If you’re thinking of adding a pool to your facility, you have a unique opportunity: You get to start from scratch. As a result, the possibilities of what your pool can provide are endless.

However, before you get started, Curtis Silas, the pool technician for The Claremont Club in Claremont, California, said there are a few items that need to be considered.

“Your first step would be to talk to your insurance provider and find out what laws need to be looked at,” said Silas. “For example, pool inspection laws, ADA laws — different things like that. You want to know all of that upfront, because once you get going, you don’t want to have to pull back and redo something, cause then your costs just go up more.”

This is important because installing a pool is a considerable investment. Silas explained an eight-lane, 500-meter pool could cost upwards of $3 million from start to finish. Not to mention maintenance costs. For example, Silas explained The Claremont Club spent roughly $9,000 on pool supplies over a three-month period last summer.

However, just because a pool is expensive to build and maintain, that doesn’t mean clubs should avoid putting one in altogether. There are other factors to consider.

For example, if your local community is family-oriented, a pool could be just the thing needed to draw in family memberships. This could help offset some of the initial investment down the road.

In addition, having a swim team has been lucrative for The Claremont Club, helping to offset some of the costs. “Pools are a drain on the club if you don’t have a source of revenue, because you’re always putting money into it,” he said. “The swim team is our biggest revenue driver when it comes to the pools.”

The fact that the pool is Olympic-sized has been beneficial as well. “There are not many clubs in southern California that have a 50-meter, eight-lane swimming pool,” said Clare Cole, the club’s chief financial officer. “The pool is a selling tool for new membership sales and retention. It separates us from other clubs.”

Other questions to consider before committing to a pool include: Should it have a water slide? If so, how will this affect my insurance? Will staff need to be retrained, or will I need to hire new staff? How deep should the pool be? Should it be heated? How much will it cost to maintain each month?

Doing your research on these questions and more can prevent building a pool from scratch from being a major headache.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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