The architecture firm hired by the Columbia Association has proposed three options to replace SplashDown, the aging water slide facility in Wilde Lake, after it reaches the end of its useful life.

The options, which range in cost from $2 million to $9.5 million, came out of a feasibility study commissioned by the aquatics master plan and conducted by Williams Architects/Aquatics, the Chicago-based firm hired for the project.

The most expensive option, which would cost from $8.6 million to $9.5 million proposes completely reconstructing the Swim Center and SplashDown into a new family aquatic center, which would support multiple amenities and features integrated into one large body of water; creating a mega-amenity.

The new mega-amenity would consist of a combination of the seven amenities recommended by Williams Architects: a spray play, slides, an active play, a children's play pool, a beach entry pool, a swim channel and a combination amenity known as a "tree house."


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Williams Architect/Aquatics Principal Tom Poulos said this plan is the latest trend in family water amenities, and would present the best opportunity for growth and revenue.

"This is truly in the spirit of a community family aquatic center," Poulos said.

Poulos added that it is an "out of the box" solution, which could serve as a multi-generational family aquatics center.

If CA chose to create this mega-amenity, the multi-use pool that is currently used as a diving area and exit point for the SplashDown flumes would be repurposed into a portion of the integrated mega-amenity.

Currently, the mutli-use pool doubles as a lap pool while SplashDown is not in use, a feature that Poulos said could continue if the new amenity is created.

However, the new mega-amenity would eliminate two of the six lap lanes in the pool to make room for some of the family friendly amenities.

The middle option ranges from $3.8 million to $4.2 million, and proposes remodeling the Swim Center building enclosure, upgrading the SplashDown outdoor flumes and adding two of the seven family amenities.

In addition to adding two new amenities, option two relocates the exit point for the flumes from the multi-use pool into the current area occupied by the wading pool, which would also house one of the new amenities.

CA Director of Sports and Fitness Bob Bellamy said having the flumes exit into the multi-use pool lowers the temperature of the lap pool, causing an issue for adults who use the pool for swim programming.

The least expensive option would be to add on to the existing Swim Center by replacing the current SplashDown with one of seven proposed new family amenities.

This option would cost from $2 million to $3.1 million, depending on the amenity and features selected.

Poulos said one of the drawbacks of the plan includes not changing the existing exterior of the Swim Center, which is not thermally efficient and outdated.

CA aquatics committee Chairman Carlton Haywood said the middle option serves as a fair compromise between the other two options.

"It maintains the slide and adds play amenities, while still retaining the lap lanes for swimmers and programming," Haywood said.

Pool enclosure

In addition to presenting options for SplashDown, Poulos also presented recommendations from a second feasibility study, which looked into converting one of CA's existing outdoor pools into an indoor pool open year-round.