Garland ISD Trustees recently approved a state-of-the-art design for the district’s new natatorium. The board voted 7-0 during its May 8 work session after receiving a proposal from the team of architects, engineers and experts who helped plan this facility. That team, referred to as the Dream Team by Board President Larry Glick, includes a company that has designed five school district natatoriums, as well as a three-time Olympian and a man who once held the title of world’s fastest swimmer.
“We design swimming facilities in all 50 states, and I can tell you that there is not a high school pool that we have designed anywhere that is beyond this,” said Steve Crocker with Water Technology Inc. “It’s going to impress and be an in-demand facility nationwide for hosting events of all kinds—with USA Swimming and USA Diving and everything.”
GISD’s new natatorium design boasts several unique features and future opportunities. It also consists of many enhancements when compared to other school district swimming facilities in North Texas.
“This facility is going to have 33 25-yard lanes. There’s no facility under one roof in the entire state of Texas with that many lanes,” explained Crocker. “It’s [also] going to be an extremely fast facility. What makes a fast pool is where kids go and have their best times.”
“You’re going to be getting the same inlet system to circulate the water as we use at the Olympic Games and the Olympic Trials,” added Jon Cleveland with Myrtha Pools. “This is a very special facility that is going to last for decades and decades.”
Additional features include an innovative system that captures and removes chloramine gas, as well as two top-of-the-line stainless steel Myrtha pool shells. GISD will be the only school district in the area to offer both. It will also offer 1,200 seats for spectators, a ticket window and concession stand, an extended, separately heated warm-up/teaching pool with a wheelchair lift, wide pool decks, large weight and locker rooms, and enhanced storage capabilities.
A diving area with one and three-meter boards will give GISD the ability to host collegiate events. A reconfigurable 50-meter competition pool will also allow the district to host multiple water polo games simultaneously. This up-and-coming sport has grown in popularity throughout North Texas, and the University Interscholastic League is now considering it as the organization’s next sanctioned event.
“We’ve termed this the modern-day field of dreams. If you build it, they will come,” said GISD Superintendent Dr. Ricardo López. “The goal here is to not only have a competition pool that brings in people. It’s also to give students the opportunity to compete at the highest levels. We fully anticipate that the district’s swimming program will soon catch fire.”
And competitive swimmers are not the only ones who will benefit from GISD’s new natatorium. The district plans to teach every second-grader aquatic safety and how to swim during customized weeklong programs.
“Drowning is the No. 2 cause of accidental death for kids under 12, and Garland ISD has the dream to do something to change that. I think that’s really special,” commented Crocker.
The natatorium will be located at the intersection of Pleasant Valley Road and Firewheel Parkway. It is estimated to be completed in 2019 and cost up to $33.5 million.