THOMASVILLE, NC ― There’s a buzz in the air among residents in Thomasville, North Carolina—construction for the much-anticipated Thomasville Aquatics and Community Center is nearing completion.
Nestled between its larger neighbors of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, the city had long sought a multi-functional recreational space that could serve residents throughout the year. To fulfill this endeavor, city stakeholders engaged CPL to transform their 70-year-old Veterans Memorial Park Swimming Pool and bathhouse into a modern-day community center fit to meet the demands of the growing city.
“Our goal was to develop a new center that offers members of the community a place to gather and have fun, no matter the season,” said CPL Architect and Project Manager, Rachel Nilson, AIA. “To best achieve that, we had to connect with the public and learn about their specific aquatic and gathering needs.”
CPL’s collaborative approach invited city stakeholders to voice their concerns about the operational safety and functionality of the existing swimming pool, which was only open during the summer months. Thorough assessments of the pool and pump house further confirmed that the facility had extensive structural issues due to heavy long-term use. Additionally, the original pool design lacked inclusivity as there was no wheelchair roll-in access and the shallow end of the pool was still too deep for young children.
“Ensuring safety and financial viability was a top priority, so instead of renovating the space, we decided to perform a complete reconstruction,” said Nilson.
To provide an intergenerational facility that could be operated year-round, final design plans included two major elements: an outdoor aquatic center and a newly constructed community building that can be used for event rentals, social gatherings and more.
The outdoor water spaces will feature a 200,000-gallon swimming pool with lap lanes and zero-entry capability; a 16-foot-tall slide and a splash pad with spray elements; and a concession stand. Additionally, the recreational facility will have a public fitness classroom and the new City Council Chambers, while also serving as a flexible venue space that can be subdivided as needed.
“A lot of strategy went into the center’s layout and overall adaptability,” explained Nilson. “For example, the City Council Chambers are situated in the front of the building and has movable partitions so that closed sessions can be held without shutting the entire area off to the public.”
The center is on track to be completed by early 2023 and true to its year-round functionality, the public will be able to enjoy the community building during this winter season while they wait for the pool areas to officially open in the warmer spring months.
Founded in 1975, CPL is a 480-person multi-disciplined architecture, engineering and planning firm offering inspiring design services and enriching communities in 19 cities across five states. CPL specializes in the Community, Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education and Transportation market sectors – providing architectural, interior design, civil engineering, buildings and structural engineering, planning, landscape architecture and 3D/virtual design services to a host of public and private clients.