The CU Recreation Center has long been an environmentally-friendly facility, having reached LEED Platinum certification in the past few years with a host of improvements. The building features a heat recovery system that repurposes energy from chilling the ice rink to heat both the indoor and outdoor pools as well as other heating elements. The addition of the phthalate-free liner aligns with CU Recreation Services’ efforts to be more green and sets a precedent for other competition pools around the country.
Built in 1973, the indoor pool was originally constructed with tile and grout, a method which, while less expensive than a liner, requires more regular upkeep. Susan Brock, Project Manager for Planning, Design and Construction, researched local companies first, coming up short on affordable, chemical-free options. Ultimately, she heard about Elbtal, a German-based manufacturer that boasts a 15-year warranty and significantly less maintenance. After learning about the company’s thicker material, chemical-free manufacturing process and product longevity, she decided this was the best option and sent the materials information sheet to Environmental Health and Safety for approval.
“It was a bigger stretch to get it here from Germany, but the liner will improve water and air quality for swimmers,” says Brock. “This is a better investment all around.” The Rec Center and CUSG Recreation Board were thrilled with the idea, appreciating the longer warranty and maintenance reduction.
A team of six installation technicians traveled to Colorado and worked 12-hour days for a full week in July to complete the project. Following the successful installation, Rec Center staff slowly filled the pool to monitor for any potential leaks. In addition to the main liner, the technicians installed a thin non-slip strip in front of the drain gutter, creating a sharp-looking, black border all the way around the pool. “Other vendors suggested installing the liner lower, but being able to wrap it higher with this non-slip surface not only makes it look great, but also creates a safer feature for swimmers,” says Brock.
Associate Director of Facilities Dan Rummel is excited about the new environmentally-friendly addition to the already thoughtful Rec Center. In addition to offset heat from the ice rink going directly into the pool, the building features skylights, daylight harvesting that automatically shuts off lights during the day, sinks and showers that use less water, evaporative cooling throughout the building and recycled materials. “We took old wood from bleachers to create accent walls,” says Rummel. “We also used pallet wood to make decorative wall art behind trash collection centers.”
This is the first improvement to the shell of the indoor competition pool since 1973. “Recreation Services Management is excited to have the pool ready for the start of the 2021 academic year,” says Rummel. The pool reopened on August 9.