The Southwestern College Wellness and Aquatics Complex was designed to serve faculty, staff, students and community members in region where most high schools don’t have swimming pools. Two competitive pools allow the complex to serve numerous swimming, diving and water polo teams in the area. Pool dimensions and depths, as well as spectator seating and spacious decks, serve the needs of competitive aquatic events, while a third pool was designed with learn-to-swim programming in mind.
Universal access, campus connectivity and community engagement impacted the design. The project had to navigate 35 feet of grade difference to connect the community with campus, providing access to students and community members. The pool deck also aligns with the adjacent Field House Stadium to allow for athletic continuity. Tilt-up concrete construction was used to provide a cost-effective, durable material representative of the campus context.
The project’s $5 million budget allowed for more water than there was in the college’s previous facility. The aquatic complex features nearly 1.6 million gallons of water largely dedicated to competitive aquatics — a unique situation among San Diego community colleges. One of the pools has a bulkhead that allows the pool to simultaneously be used for disparate programs. Overall, the volume of water and specific pool designs afford the complex a significant amount of aquatic opportunity.