SPLASH! AQUATICS CENTER A SUCCESS IN LA MIRADA
This project involved the conceptualization, design, development and programming of Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center.
Discussions about the possibility of replacing an aging County pool in La Mirada Regional Park began in approximately 1990. The concept of building a new aquatics facility gained traction with the La Mirada City Council and community groups in the years after 2000.
The more than $38,000,000 project, which covers 18 acres, opened to the public in November, 2007. In the years since Splash! opened, operations have been enhanced and revenues increased substantially. Revenues and expenditures have been closely monitored to ensure cost effective operation of the facility.
Community Services Director Thomas Robinson presented the idea of replacing an aging County pool to the City Council, which authorized further study. Surveys demonstrated strong community interest. An aquatics consulting firm was retained to assist with conceptual design. A planning workshop identified major elements desired in the facility, as well as an estimated operating budget. Design work was done by pool consultants, architects, mechanical and electrical engineers and others. A construction management firm was retained to oversee construction. By 2005 design was completed, and construction began.
Negotiations with the County obtained 18 acres of property. Financial support was obtained through various grants and donations from individuals, community organizations and businesses.
Potential legal, environmental and other issues with other government agencies were resolved through meetings and negotiations. Support was received from major stakeholders, such as Biola University and the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, which were interested in facility usage. Typical construction issues encountered on large projects were addressed as they arose. Weekly project team meetings identified and resolved potential project delays.
A full staff was recruited for the new facility, and extensive training placing a strong emphasis on safety was conducted. Special events and numerous marketing efforts were initiated as the facility began operations to increase attendance and generate revenues.
Splash! has become a destination for family-oriented aquatic recreation, competitive swimming, and instruction. More than 250,000 people visit the award-winning facility each year. The majority are attracted to the Buccaneer Bay water park area which generates most of the facility's revenue. Regional, national and international swim competitions are held in the facility’s 50 meter pool. Swim lessons and fitness classes are held each day in the 25 yard pool.
Splash! has surpassed 100% recovery of its annual operating costs, and its revenues offset a substantial portion of required bond payments related to its construction. Splash! reinforced La Mirada's identity as a family-oriented community, and was among the reasons Money magazine named La Mirada one of the nation's best communities in which to live.
Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center stands as a major marketplace success, and one of the busiest aquatic facilities in the area. During its first five years, Splash! increased its annual operating cost recovery rate from approximately 70% to more than 100%. As both Community Services Director and City Manager, Robinson worked to maximize revenues and enhance safety at the facility.
Thomas E. Robinson
TR Management Services, Inc.