Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center Makes a Huge Splash

When the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center recently celebrated its grand reopening ceremony — 95 years after it opened originally in 1928 — the whole world was watching.

The greatly expanded sports destination on Fort Lauderdale Beach has attracted the most eminent names in diving and swimming competitions and elevated the allure and reputation of Fort Lauderdale for decades. Its reopening revealed new state-of-the-art swim competition pools, new spectator grandstands, new administrative quarters, and a brand-new signature multi-platform dive tower topped by a 27-meter springboard — the highest in the Western Hemisphere.

In the role of design criteria professional, SRS’s task was to research the architectural framework that defined the regeneration package, in collaboration with Project Manager Tom Green and Laura Voet, Aquatic Complex Manager of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Parks and Recreation Department.

More than 500 people attended the star-studded ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included commentary by Mayor Dean Trantalis, City Commissioner Steve Glassman, and Vice Mayor Warren Sturman; and recognition of Olympians Donna de Varona, Greg Louganis, Dara Torres, Sam Dorman, Mary Ellen Clark, Tom Gompf, Wendy Boglioli, Dave Burgering, and Cullen Jones, and Ron O’Brien, eight-time USA Olympic diving coach and former head coach of the Fort Lauderdale Diving Team.

The event spotlighted professional high diver Clark Kocourek as he performed a stunning dive off the 90-foot tower, and seven athletes who completed a simultaneous dive from five different platforms.

The SRS design team created the schematic layout, the specifications for civil, mechanical, and engineering work, the inventory list of materials, fixtures, surfaces, furnishings, equipment, and every detail required for compliance with Florida Building Codes, while the Aquatic Complex team provided the range of information needed for the installation of specific swimming and dive features.

“We spent a considerable amount of time with the SRS team,” Voet said. “It was a learning process for both teams, as we went over every little detail. Together, we made certain to include every necessary item so the package was complete and trustworthy as the City sent out Requests for Proposals to those who would fulfill construction activities.”

Adjacent to the site of a planned new Swimming Hall of Fame Museum, the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center features competitive and recreational swimming and diving activities, aquatic training opportunities, practicing and/or learning life-saving skills, and other experiences requiring an aquatic environment.

Design elements included in the development package included:

  • New expanded fully FINA compliant competition pool;
  • New fully FINA compliant diving pool and tower including five platform levels;
  • New 14x10 foot divers spa;
  • Renovation of locker room building;
  • New surfacing and gutters for existing training pool;
  • Expanded and relocated instructional pool;
  • New filtration system, pumps, and chlorination system for all pools;
  • Resurfacing and raised pool deck to allow for increased pool depths;
  • New grandstand buildings with1,500 bleacher seating, restrooms, concessions, and ticket office;
  • New main entry, parking improvements, drainage upgrades, added lighting, landscaping, and sidewalks.