Renovations to the King County Aquatic Center (KCAC), Federal Way’s iconic jewel of the Northwestern United States’ swimming crown will begin next week.
The 2,500 seat facility was built for the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, and with the closing of the Belmont Olympic Plaza pool in Southern California, it has taken on increased importance as the only indoor long course facility of this size and qualify on the Pacific Ocean.
The KCAC hosted the 2008 and 2012 NCAA men’s Division I championship meets, and has also hosted many conference championship meets (like the Pac 12).
Ahead of scheduled hosting duties for the 2014 Winter Junior National Championships and the 2015 Winter National Championships, the KCAC will be undergoing some significant renovations.
The pool is scheduled to close on August 10th and remained closed through October, and while this will be a bit disruptive to the normal activities at the pool, the changes should be noticeable.
For starters, rather than a traditional HVAC system that tends to circulate the same chloramine-filled air, the new system will be “evacuating deck air 100%” according to one source. That should help alleviate the increasingly alarming rates of illness caused by bad air at swim meets, especially as attendance numbers grow larger and larger.
Additional duct work should help improve the ability to bring in fresh outside air to the facility, and those additional ducts will be specifically targeted at the pools.
The state of Washington is chipping in a big portion of the funding for the renovation, given that there is expected to be a big increase in energy efficiency for the new ventilation and HVAC systems. They are also paying for a new solar energy component to the center, as the street-side portion of the KCAC’s blue roof will now be covered in solar panels.
There will also be functional improvements made in the locker room facilities to increase air quality and heating efficiency.
While this renovation won’t come with many obvious bells-and-whistles, that’s not what the KCAC needs. It was a fantastic facility when it was built and still is today. These renovations are all about function and efficiency, which should keep athletes racing there happy and healthy, and keep the pool economically viable and operating as a championship site for decades into the future.