While the high desert environment location is beautiful, it can also be harsh. It was important that this facility be an iconic presence in the community,  perform well despite wide climactic swings, and support use throughout the year; even in times of triple-digit heat, snow, and high wind. The unique climate influenced everything from site planning to envelope design. Our concept creates a sheltered ‘microclimate.’

The Aquatics and Recreation Center presents a richly textured facade that emphasizes the organic and layered massing of the building. Different surfaces catch the changing light much like the weathered monzonite ridgelines that surround the town. Playful aquatic tones at the ground plane along with peeks into the natatorium space at the pedestrian level emphasize the magnetic draw of water in the desert. Glazing protected by deep overhangs along with skylights provide abundant natural light while controlling glare at all but threshold conditions.

We’ve waited a long time to have a municipal pool in the town. We used to share one with the high school and we’ve outgrown it and are ready for something new. I love the idea that the design is iconic. It is going to be beautiful 50 years from now.

– Robert Lombardo, Council Member

Usually, a fundamental element of building science is to keep water outside of the building – placing a large aquatics facility indoors immediately turns this on its head. Glass walls around the pool space bring in comfortable daylighting and are easily washed with conditioned, dehumidified air. We used heat rejection to capture waste heat from the dehumidification process and use it for pool heating, decreasing natural gas use. Drought-tolerant and native landscaping features limit water consumption and integrate well with the surrounding desert ecosystem. The indoor swimming facilities will face significant longevity, maintenance, and energy consumption challenges, but our design will help drive down future maintenance and repair costs. To provide some insulation against future operating costs, the design looks to accommodate a significant amount of on-site photo voltaic energy production. A large 320kW photovoltaic array on both the roof and parking areas offset approximately 50 percent of electricity use annually. Overall EUI is reduced to less than half of the baseline, insulating this community from increasingly volatile energy prices and operational costs.


This is the largest investment this community has made of this kind. The result will enrich the local community with a multi-generational, inclusive facility that provides for community membership, prioritizes swim instruction and safety, is efficient in operation, and incorporates sustainable and innovative concepts.

It’s a lot more than just a swimming pool, it’s something that will help build more community here. 

Rick Denison, Mayor Pro Tem