Visitors to Yate Leisure Centre in Bristol may be surprised to ﬁnd a new addition at the venue – an 18 x 10m temporary outdoor swimming pool. While the indoor swimming pool is out of action for essential maintenance until October, management at the leisure facility called upon Rio Pools to come up with a temporary option to ensure there is no loss of service to the many swimmers who use the centre.
Shelley Willcox, Director and Contracts Manager at Rio Pools explains: “We were asked to help ﬁnesse designs, agree a workable programme, coordinate and manage the installation and also to manage and service the temporary pool for the duration of use.”
Rio Pools opted for a timber construction method, ﬁnished with a vinyl liner. The pool is housed in an insulated marquee complete with a separate pod which houses a temporary ﬁltration, dosing, heating and air handling plant. There’s also a temporary lighting rig, instructor plant-room and safety balustrades. The installation process also involved removing 50 parking spaces from the leisure centres car park, and borrowing a measured quantity of heated/treated water from the indoor pool to ﬁll the replacement.
Although the site is owned by South Gloucestershire Council, the centre is leased to the Circadian Trust, as Shelley explains: “We worked closely with the main design team which included South Gloucestershire County Council – who are funding the build, Circadian Trust and the sites’ direct management staff. “To the best of our knowledge, this temporary solution is the ﬁrst of its kind in the UK and has already attracted much attention from councils and leisure management companies up and down the country.”
At ﬁrst it may seem an extravagant and ludicrous use of tax payers’ money, but when balanced against what these commercial pools now generate in revenue from round-the-clock clubs, swimming lessons and pool parties, the temporary facility pays dividends. “Whilst we are not privy to all the numbers, it is our understanding that this initiative has saved the centre several £100,000’s in otherwise lost revenue,” adds Shelley.
“We’ve had really positive feedback from the centre and the wider public which is reassuring as proposals were not viewed favourably by all in the beginning! “This project was a big deal for us and we thought long and hard about taking it on. Although it caused some sleepless nights, we had a dream team of in-house engineers working around the clock. And after some minor hair loss I think I speak on behalf of all involved that it’s been a blinding success.”
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