UCLA’s New Spieker Aquatics Center Creates a Splash Within Collegiate Aquatics Community

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Excitement has been building within competitive swimming, diving and water polo circles since UCLA opened its’ state-of-the-art Spieker Aquatics Center, as part of the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center in the northwest quadrant of the campus.

UCLA opened its’ state-of-the-art Spieker Aquatics Center, as part of the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center in the northwest quadrant of the campus.

This is a great addition to the overall UCLA recreation and athletic facilities. Our students and student athletes are now able to strive for excellence in an outstanding multi-use competitive aquatic venue. Our Men’s Club Water Polo team acknowledges that access to this great facility helped them win this year’s national championship.

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Excitement has been building within competitive swimming, diving and water polo circles since UCLA opened its’ state-of-the-art Spieker Aquatics Center, as part of the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center in the northwest quadrant of the campus.

Michael Deluca, UCLA’s Director of Cultural and Recreational Affairs, states, “This is a great addition to the overall UCLA recreation and athletic facilities. Our students and student athletes are now able to strive for excellence in an outstanding multi-use competitive aquatic venue. Our Men’s Club Water Polo team acknowledges that access to this great facility helped them win this year’s national championship.”

The $11 million facility features a 25 yard x 52 meter competition pool, 1 and 3 meter springboard diving, 10, 7-1/2, 5 and 3 meter platform diving, and a warming pool for divers. Site infrastructure includes elevated spectator seating for 1,300, a 6,500 square foot building which houses team locker rooms, coaches’ facilities, pool equipment and storage, a full video display scoreboard, sports lighting capable of hosting major competitive meets after dark, and an eye-catching array of record boards and graphics.

The competition pool is an ''all deep'' pool with depths ranging from 8’0” at the “shallow” end to 17’6” at the deep end, and contains 1,037,770 gallons of water (enough to fill approximately 62 backyard pools). With the use of a movable bulkhead, the pool can be configured to host 25 yard short course, 25 meter short course, and 50 meter long course swim events. A toe ledge (similar to an underwater shelf) located approximately 4’ below the water surface allows swimmers to rest between sets or when receiving instructions from coaching staff.

The 35 foot-tall concrete diving platform is the first of its type within the University of California system, and weighs in at 30 tons of concrete and steel. Within the pool floor below the diving platform, an air sparger is installed, which, when activated, provides a cushion of air at the water surface to assist in the training of divers (bellyflops are less painful with the sparger in use). Two (2) 1 meter springboards, two (2) 3 meter springboards, and the 100 square foot warming pool round out the diving package.

In addition to excellent swimmers and divers, UCLA is also known for its first rate water polo teams, and there is plenty for these elite athletes to love about the new facility. The depth of the pool ensures a level playing field, and the bulkhead can be set to accommodate 25 yard, 25 meter and 30 meter floating cage competitive water polo course layouts. Given the size of the competition pool, the bulkhead can also be positioned to allow for multiple teams practicing at the same time.

The Newport Beach, California firm of Bauer and Wiley served as the lead architect for design of the project, and their unique design details are evident throughout the facility. The artful use of wood finishes on the buildings and the diving platform is particularly effective. Site perimeter walls veneered with “UCLA” brick and uniquely sculpted metal fencing and gates provide an impressive façade for the new aquatics center. Annette Wiley, AIA, a partner with the firm, declared, ''This project challenged the A/E team to design a world class swimming, diving and water polo facility on a very constrained site within the heavily wooded Sunset Canyon Recreation Center without disrupting the tranquil setting. Careful consideration was given to sustainable design principles in order for the project to achieve a LEED certification. Campus officials have expressed their appreciation of how well the aquatics center fits into its surroundings and how little impact there is on the neighborhood.''

Aquatic Design Group of Carlsbad, California, served as the aquatic consultant for the project, and was responsible for architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical design and engineering of the swimming pools, pool decks, and the timing and scoring systems. PCL Construction’s Los Angeles based special projects division served as the general contractor for the project, and California Commercial Pools (Glendora, California) built the pools. Other consultants on the design team included KPFF Consulting Engineers (civil engineering), Englekirk Partners (structural engineering), P2S Engineering (mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering), and the Office of James Burnett (landscape architecture).

About Aquatic Design Group:

Founded in 1984, Aquatic Design Group (ADG) specializes in the design and engineering of innovative swimming pools and water features for competitive, recreational and leisure-based aquatic facilities. The internationally recognized firm has designed more than 2,500 water-based projects, among them facilities such as the 2004 U.S. Olympic Swim Trials venue in Long Beach, California (the largest temporary swimming venue ever constructed in the United States), as well as the recently completed Aztec Aquaplex at San Diego State University. Current ADG design commissions include a large competitive aquatics complex for California State University, Fresno, a renovation / replacement of the competitive pools at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and swimming pools proposed for a new student recreation center at the University of North Carolina’s Greensboro campus. For more information, call (760) 438-8400 or visit http://www.aquaticdesigngroup.com .

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