Aquatic Center History -
The original Holland Community Pool opened in 1968. It was created, owned and operated by the Holland Public School System. Since the pool was located apart from any school it always had the appearance of independence. Programming was geared towards both the public and parochial schools. In the summer, swimming lessons at the pool were under the banner of the City of Holland Recreation Department. From its inception, the Community Pool operations were funded by its own independent operation and construction bond millage. The Community Pool was staffed by public school employees but operations were separate from the school general fund. Substantial financial freedom as well as programming independence has been an integral part of the Community Pool from the start.
The need for expansion of the Holland Community Pool was evident as early as the late 1970's. In 1982 a community wide committee was formed to study the needs and wants of the community in relation to this expansion. A plan for an addition to the facility was developed and placed before the voters, but was narrowly defeated in the polls in 1984.
A committee was reorganized again in 1992, and again developed a plan for the expansion of the facility. Before a campaign could be started, a Michigan Constitutional referendum revised public school financing. The change prohibited the Holland Community Pool from having its own operating millage. Without further statutory change, the pool would have to fund its operations from the General fund of the Holland Public School system. It was decided that in order to keep its financial independence the operation of the community pool would need to be "assumed" by another entity.
Working with local and state legislators, a Bill passed the state legislature which created the Holland Area Community Swimming Pool Authority (HACSPA). The Authority is an independent municipal entity. Its borders are identical to the Holland Public School District. The HACSPA Board is appointed by the municipalities that reside within the Holland Public School District: Holland, Holland Township, Laketown Township, and Park Township. Each municipality appoints its own representatives for a renewable term. The Board operates independently under its own authority as stipulated by the legislation which created it. The Authority is legally permitted to levy an operating millage up to 1 mill and also a millage for debt service.
In 1995, HACSPA purchased ownership and operation of the Community Pool from the Holland Public School System for $1.00. The staff continued to be employees of the school district. The Authority began almost immediately to plan for a campaign for a bond issue to finance pool expansion. In June of 1996 the community voted overwhelmingly in favor of an $11.25 million bond issue. Facility design was then refined, construction drawings were completed and the project was bid. Ground was broken in June of 1998, and the Holland Community Aquatic Center was completed in the spring of 1999.
Building Description -
Holland Community Aquatic Center is located on two city blocks in central Holland. It is immediately adjacent to Holland Hospital. The Aquatic Center is a total of 86,745 square feet and features a masonry and EIFS exterior, also incorporating insulated metal panels and extensive glass and glass block. The facility features a large parking area as well as a rolling tree filled park space. Major components of the center include:
Competition Pool - Fifty meters by 75 feet holding 750,000 gallons of water. Depth ranges from 7 feet at one end to 4 feet in center, and 13 feet at the diving end. A movable bulkhead constructed of fiberglass allows the pool to be configured in a variety of ways for competitions and practices. Two one meter and two three meter diving boards are included. Pool and deck surfaces are ceramic tile.
Leisure Pool - 3,000 square feet, with a volume of 64,000 gallons. The leisure pool, called the Splash Zone, features a triple spiral water slide, a multi-feature play structure, water cannons, vortex, water cane, fountains and water jets, and a 12 foot diameter spa. Surfaces of the pool and deck are ceramic tile.
Therapy Pool - 36 feet by 20 feet, with depth sloping from 3.5 to 5 feet, producing a volume of 23,534 gallons. Access to the pool by steps or by water powered hydraulic lift. Pool and deck surfaces are ceramic tile.
Instructional Pools - These pools were the original Community Pool built in 1968 and include a 75 by 45 feet six lane pool with a depth of 3.5 feet at both ends and 5.5 feet in center with a volume of 114,000 gallons and diving pool of 25 by 45 feet and a depth of 12.5 feet holding 105,000 gallons. Diving pool is equipped with two 1 meter diving boards. Pool surfaces are ceramic tile.
Fitness Center - 2,000 square feet furnished with circuit weight machines, cardiovascular machines including treadmills, stair steppers, elliptical trainers, upright stationary bikes, recumbent bikes, and dumbbell weights. The fitness center includes a mirrored wall, and exterior wall of floor to ceiling windows.
Multipurpose Room / Meeting Rooms - 2,600 square feet with a movable solid partition wall which can divide the room into two equal spaces. The multipurpose room also features a serving kitchen and can be set up with tables and chairs for 105 people.
Spectator Area - permanent elevated bleacher area for spectators with seating capacity for 500 and temporary seating on movable bleachers for an additional 500. The spectator area also includes a concession area and rest room facilities.
Locker Rooms - 2 separate men's and women's locker rooms each with the capacity of 250-275 lockers. All locker rooms are equipped with lockers, showers, wet and dry restrooms, hair dryers, and suit dryers. A special needs locker room includes 5 private changing/shower areas and locker and rest room facilities for families with young children or individuals with disabilities.
Mechanical Systems - Heating is by hot water with variable air volume devices and in-floor heating coils. Office areas, fitness center, lobby and multipurpose room are air conditioned. Natatorium areas are humidity controlled with Dectron condensing units.
Pool Mechanical Systems - All pools are filtered with high rate hybrid sand filters. Chemical balance is maintained on all pools with Strantrol controllers and automated feeding systems. Variable frequency drives integrated with pool circulating pumps.
Sound and Security Systems - The entire facility is wired for intercom and paging along with emergency and security systems. The building is also set up with sound systems in all public use areas.
Computer Systems - Office areas are connected via a server using Dell hardware. Software utilized is the RecTrac system including facility reservations, membership, registration, and point of sale modules. All building mechanical controls are monitored and set by computer. Scoreboards and timing system are Colorado Time Systems, with computerized scoring and meet management operated as a separate system from the building network.
The Aquatic Center Design Team -
Owner - Holland Community Pool Authority
Architect - GMB Architects and Engineers , Holland MI
Pool Consultant - Councilman/Hunsaker & Associates , St. Louis MO
Aquatic Center Moves Forward -
The Aquatic Center was conceived with diverse community input to make it as appealing and innovative as possible. As the story goes: "If you build it....they will come." The Aquatic Center has been highly successful. Programming has blossomed with the increase in space and the diverse aquatic features and has expanded and evolved to fill community needs. All day long, every day, season by season, the Aquatic Center offers a wide array of aquatic programming.
The staff, management, and vision have made the Aquatic Center along with the incredible facility a national leader in Aquatics. In 2004, just five years after opening, the Holland Community Aquatic Center was named by Aquatics International as "Best in the Nation" for programming and infrastructure.
Going back to its roots in the public schools, the swimming instructional program continues to be integrated into K-5 education programming for the Holland public, parochial, and charter schools. This innovative program teaches children how to swim and introduces them to benefits of swimming. This program is a standard for aquatic education anywhere.
A diverse array of adult fitness and education programming exists. Also, programming for preschool infants and young mothers takes place throughout the week. Of course, the center offers time all day long for independent fitness and recreational swimming.
The competitive swim programming has grown and blossomed in the Aquatic Center. The Aquatic Center is home to age group, USA, school-team, and Master's swimming programs. A growing number of All American swimmers have developed at the Aquatic Center and Holland swimming has become a force in the State of Michigan. Along with the teams, a booster organization has grown up to support the competitive programming.
The Aquatic Center has hosted numerous large competitive swim meets including local, state, and national championships at all levels. The Aquatic Center has hosted the NCAA Division III men's and women's championships. It continues to be sought out for high caliber competition.
The Aquatic Center has contracted with Holland Hospital for in house aquatic therapy using the therapy pool and related facilities. Open time is also available for therapy needs.
The corrosive effects of chlorine can rapidly destroy even the best designed and developed aquatic complex. Maintenance of the physical plant of the Aquatic Center has always been far above industry standards and it remains an ongoing priority.
Expense to the tax payer has dropped every year from the inception of the Aquatic Center. Millage renewals have been supported by large margins without exception (i.e. 80% or more). Community programming has grown and memberships and service fees account for approximately 50% of HACSPA income. A wide array or rentals and competitive swim income supplement the bottom line financially. The Aquatic Center has been fiscally well run as verified by mandated annual financial audits. Rates for service fees remain competitive and reasonable and the operating millage remains below the statutory limit. Management of the Aquatic Center continues to be vigilant on both the income and expense side to preserve financial strength.
In 2004, the Board of the HACSPA determined that it was in the best interest of the Aquatic Center to become totally independent of the Holland Public School District. The staff became employees of the Authority and is under sole direction of HACSPA. A contractual relationship still exists between the Aquatic Center and the school district.
The Holland Community Aquatic Center is a progressive and vital community resource. Continued leadership and dedicated staff remain its greatest strength. The Aquatic Center vision remains to be at the forefront of Aquatic development in Michigan and beyond.