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Community Swimming Hub

New aquatic center echoes the area’s industrial history

Kingspan Deaconess Aquatic Center Exterior Day 1200 En Us

While the aging and deteriorating Lloyd Pool facility in Evansville, Ind., could still host competitive swim practices and high school swim meets, the 1975-built facility could no longer host USA Swimming meets for club teams due to its limited specifications and crumbling infrastructure.

Since amateur sports make up Evansville’s largest tourism market, town officials recognized the need for a state-of-the-art aquatics center, and committed to constructing a new, high-performance facility that would provide the swimming amenities needed for the entire community, as well as being able to accommodate collegiate and NCAA programming.

Located in Evansville’s Garvin Park across from the historic Bosse Field, designers at Hafer Design, Evansville, were charged with creating an aesthetic for the aquatics center that echoed the area’s industrial history while creating an impact, and injecting energy and engagement into the community.

Serving as a community hub for swimmers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels, the 75,000-square-foot Deaconess Aquatic Center features a 950,000-gallon competition pool named after Olympic gold medalist and Evansville native Lilly King. There is also a separate 91,000-gallon leisure pool and a 1,750-square-foot outdoor splash pad. The facility has a mural of King, as well as a wall display showcasing the accomplishments of Paralympic gold medalist Mikaela Jenkins, another Evansville native.

To meet multiple aesthetic and performance requirements, designers used 13,000 square feet of custom-designed Uniquad translucent wall systems from Lake Forest, Ill.-based Kingspan Light + Air. The Uniquad wall systems bring soft, diffused daylight into the pool area, limiting glare and reducing uncomfortable hot spots within the building, which allows the athletes to perform better and without distraction. While the Uniquad system provides a comfortable environment for spectators, it also provides a level of safety and privacy by blocking a direct line of sight into the pool area.

To create a dramatic visual statement, a custom-designed dot pattern illustrating the forms of swimmers in action was placed on the Uniquad panels, which allows for impactful visuals both during the day and when backlit at night. Additionally, to pay tribute to the neighborhood’s industrial history, the system features a clear anodize finish on the aluminum framing. There is also an intentional juxtaposition of the contrasting architectural styles between the new building and the Bosse Field baseball facility, which forms an anchor at the entrance to the historic park.

“The translucent panels that flank the south and east walls of the competition pool area allow natural light to penetrate the competition pool space while minimizing harsh shadows that would distract swimmers and lifeguards,” says Jennifer Kissel, senior associate/architect, Hafer Design. “At night, the dot patterns that adorn the translucent panels appear on the exterior façade of the translucent panels creating glowing images of swimmers on the building’s exterior.”