Des Moines pools could get $16.4 million improvements like water slide


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Instead of building a fancy new aquatic center, Des Moines is looking to spend $16.4 million to upgrade its current swimming pools, many of which are 40 years old and are in need of repairs as well as more amenities.

A survey of pool users found they’d prefer upgrades to the existing facilities at Northwest Family Aquatic Center, Nahas Family Aquatic Center, Teachout Aquatic Center, Ashworth Swimming Pool and Birdland Swimming Pool than a new center, according to a consultant’s report. Beyond basic repairs, some new amenities could include new water slides at Nahas on the south side and a splash pad at Birdland on the north side.

Ben Page, Des Moines Parks and Recreation director, and Jeff Bartley, co-founder and principal engineer with Waters Edge Aquatic Design, presented to the City Council at a work session Oct. 2 their findings on what investment Des Moines aquatics need in the next few years. The city partnered with Waters Edge Aquatic Design, an engineering firm that specializes in pools and aquatic facilities, to conduct a study to find out what should be done with the pools. 

Wet decks and sprays are on the list to be considered as additions to the Nahas, Northwest and Birdland pools in Des Moines.

“It was not until the last 1-2 years we were starting to experience the end-of-life cycles on some of the more significant mechanicals, plumbing and electrical systems needed to operate the pools,” Page said in an email. “This plan allows for us to systematically prioritize each pool and what repairs/replacements happen in what order to extend the life cycles another 20-30 years.” 

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