Dream Pool Design Contest

Participate in planning Carbondale’s new aquatics facility.

Six-Foot Staycation: 6’ {3}

The Town of Carbondale wants swimmers of all ages to DIVE INTO THEIR CREATIVITY. Engage in a community envisioning process for a new pool by taking a survey and joining a Dream Pool Design Contest. (Find these below. First, a dip in the water…)

Classic Eighties

If you binge-watched Netflix’ Stranger Things when the third season dropped last July 4, then you may have noticed a striking similarity between Carbondale’s pool and the pool in the 1980s fictitious town of Hawkins, Indiana. Both towns enjoyed state-of-the-art facilities in 1978.

Same rectilinear concrete poolscape and painted concrete-block bathhouses. Darn near similar lap lane buoys and lifeguard stand. Carbondale’s locker areas are smaller than those in Hawkins, but at least they aren’t a portal to another, darker dimension. 
Or so we believe.

But Seriously.  

This isn’t about outdated aesthetics. It’s about numbers, as Margaret Donnelly, the Town of Carbondale’s Recreation Aquatics and Health & Wellness Coordinator explains. For example, Carbondale built the pool on the corner of Main and 7th Street forty-one years ago when the town population was roughly 2000. And this number more than tripled in the last official count 10 years ago. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the town’s population in 2020 will come in slightly below 7000.

Demographics further tell the story, with 9.6% of the town’s population aged birth to 5 and 24.9% between ages 5-18 – roughly 2,400 kids. Given occupancy caps and limitations in open-swim hours, you can hypothetically max the current facility by assigning each kid in town 1.3 hours of pool time over an entire summer. COVID occupancy restrictions cut this in half.

“Programming and community needs have changed a lot over the years,” explains Donnelly. Swim lessons, wading pool hours, lap swimming patrons, water aerobics classes, diving lessons, and other scheduled pool activities squeeze into the pool’s weekly schedule. Meanwhile, open water play cannot happen during scheduled programming.

Codes and Functionality

The last major upgrade to the pool happened in 1986 when the Town added a wading pool.  Then, in 1996, the Rec Department invested in a PVC liner, for which the warranty expires next year. Mechanically speaking, the critical auto-feed sanitation system is as modern as it gets. However, the mechanical room no longer adequately fits the equipment. “We literally do acrobatics to climb over things to change filters,” Donnelly points out. Updated codes require a bigger mechanical room. The current facility allows no room for expansion. 

The facility lands almost twenty-years behind requirements spelled out in the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act. Right now, getting a wheelchair-bound patron into the narrow entrance, through the changing rooms, and then to a place where they can access the water is possible, but challenging.

Rest assured. The pool meets every safety standard. It is absolutely functional. But when things break, the cost of repair often runs higher than the cost of replacement, and some aspects of the current infrastructure are not fixable. Donnelly gives the showerheads in the bathhouses as an example. If one of these small, stainless fixtures breaks, there is no available replacement, so when the staff faced this minor issue last summer, they learned the only viable option meant pulling apart the entire shower, including underground plumbing. 

“When you combine the expense of maintaining an aging facility and the opportunity costs of not being able to adequately serve the growing community, it’s time to start actively planning for the future,” Donnelly says. She launched the Dream Pool Design Contest to bring kids and families into the process. Start dreaming.

Aquatic Dreams…

Wondering about the Aquatic Coordinator’s shortlist of basic amenities for a new facility?

  •  A new building entrance meeting ADA requirements, creating a more functional check-in station and room for a manager’s office.
  • Larger bathhouses with privacy and more showers.
  • A dedicated lap area for multi-use programming throughout the day.
  • A zero-depth wading area for a safer poolscape.

But what about other cool things like slides, diving boards, aquatic climbing areas, splash pads, and lazy rivers?  This is where your input is vital.

What is your vision?

Please take a few minutes to participate in the Town of Carbondale’s pool survey HERE.

Left-Click to Download this worksheet.

Dream Pool Design Contest
Use this printable scaled worksheet to draw and color your ideal layout for a new pool. (Parents and kids, too!) Drop off, mail, or email your drawing to the Carbondale Rec Center.
(Hint … PRIZES!)

I work with a great team of people with a passion for getting it right. That’s why we’re inviting this level of community buy-in. We have an opportunity to build a facility that will serve our community for the next fifty years or more.”
~ Margaret Donnelly


LEARN MORE about Carbondale Recreation Department programming.

FIND OUT about COVID Safety Protocols and 2020 Summer Plans at Roaring Fork Valley community rec pools.