Wilson Pool - renovation of a 1950’s swimming pool complex


Wilson Pool was built in 1958; it was intended as an outdoor, year-round, pool to be used by the seemingly-intrepid Wilson swim team during cool, school months and to be available to PP&R as a public pool during warm, summer months.  It consisted of two pool tanks, each providing six lap-lanes, one of medium-depth water, the other with deep water and diving.

The swim team proved not so intrepid after all and stopped using the facility during the 1970’s leaving PP&R as primary pool user.  After four decades, the facility was showing its age – deteriorated systems and leaking pool tanks could not be maintained properly.  The pool was leaking 100,000 gallons of water annually.  Failures in pool systems were energy-wasteful and potentially life-threatening.  With passage of the 2002 Parks Levy, Wilson Pool finally received funding to proceed with design and construction.  A design team was assembled during 2003 comprised of a nationally-famous local architectural firm and one of the nation’s premier aquatic design firms.  And so, public process phase began.

The primary challenges were: balancing the needs of swimmers for exercise and competition with those who consider a pool a place for recreation, fun and family; providing construction access to a “land-locked” site on school grounds; and, construction to have minimum impact on school operation – all demolition and heavy construction occurred during summer vacation.


Public process helped determine the overall strategy:  the original deep tank with six lanes would be rebuilt but kept in its current configuration.  The shallow pool would be demolished to make way for a substantially larger leisure pool with interactive water features, a current channel, a vortex and a separate splash pool for the water slide.  Besides customer-oriented improvements, all mechanical and energy-wasting systems were replaced with new mechanical and support spaces.

All concrete from the demolition of the shallow pool was processed and became structural fill for the new leisure pool; new, high technology solar panels are capable of heating all of the pool water; the leaking has been contained, saving 100,000 gallons of water annually.

The photos show off the craftsmanship required to build a modern swimming pool.  The intricate concrete forming, the meticulous tile work, and the hand-crafted gutters required specialists that are on a par with older forms of craftsmanship.

In conjunction with TVA Architects and Counsilman Hunsaker [aquatic design].  Constructed by 2KG Contractors and The Pool Company.