Talbott Springs Pool in Oakland Mills

Talbott Springs pool in Oakland Mills is one of the four Columbia Association pools being considered as an option to be converted into an indoor pool. (Provided by Columbia Association - Aquatics Department facebook)

The architecture firm hired by the Columbia Association to explore the feasibility of converting one of CA's existing 23 outdoor pools into an indoor pool, open year-round, has narrowed the field of possible pools from six to four.

According to Williams Architects Aquatics Engineer Rich Klarck, the four potential sites are the outdoor pools in Dasher Green, Talbott Springs, Jeffers Hill and Locust Park.

Although the field has been narrowed, Klarck and Principal Tom Poulos said the study found that none of the six pools met more than six of the necessary 14 criteria for an indoor pool, making them less than ideal options.

"They are not ideal, but they can be enclosed, so there are options," Klarck said.

The findings of the feasibility study were presented to the members of the public Wednesday night.

Klarck said the largest obstacles facing the pools are their shape, depth, current piping and filtration systems.

While Klark and Poulos have yet to draw up designs or make any formal recommendations on an enclosure, Poulos indicated that, as of right now, the Locust Park pool is the leader because of its flexibility.

Poulos said the Locust Park pool, as opposed to the other sites, has three options for redevelopment.

The first and least expensive option would be to leave the existing outdoor pool as is and simply place an enclosure around the pool. The second option would be to renovate the existing pool space by upgrading things likes the piping and filtration systems, in addition to placing an enclosure over the pool. The third option would be to completely rip out the existing pool and replace it with a new indoor pool.

"You have a couple different options of what could happen at Locust," Poulos said.

Poulos added that the current recommendations for all four sites could be amended based on feedback from the public, CA's aquatics committee and the CA board.

"It could be a hybrid of what you are going to see from these options," Poulos said. "You know the culture of your community better than we do.

"The good news is we have a couple great contenders here. ... We have a good starting part to move toward a singular recommendation."

The architects also detailed findings from a second study that explored the future of SplashDown, the aging water slide in Wilde Lake.

"SplashDown was a little different study. It was really to look at the options to replace the slide complex when it becomes no longer feasible to maintain," Klarck said.

Klarck said the 28-year-old facility has a number of problems, and recommended a multitude of family-friendly options to be considered.

Some of the options included a flow rider or wave simulator, a spray playground, a family play pool, a lazy river, and a community jacuzzi.

Klarck and Poulos would not estimate how long SplashDown would remain operational, stating that it depended on how much longer CA was willing to continue repairing the water slide.

CA aquatics committee chairman Carlton Haywood said it is important for CA to explore new possibilities for a family-oriented aquatics amenity.

"CA is incurring a lot of cost to keep SplashDown going," Haywood said. "The community likes having a family-friendly amenity, and the purpose of this exercise is to present ideas that could ultimately replace SplashDown."

A second meeting on the studies is scheduled for Nov. 27 at the Hawthorn Center in Hickory Ridge. At that meeting, the architects are expected to go into further detail and present formal recommendations on the projects.

For more information on the aquatics master plan and the feasibility studies, click here.