The first mascot-shaped pool in the country
that's environmentally sensitive and
economically efficient.




Providing a one of a kind experience for the students of CU Boulder while working with the confines of existing infrastructure and antiquated systems that were no longer code compliant.


The Solution

The CU Boulder student recreation center included several dated bodies of water that were not code compliant and did not provide the experiences that today’s students expect. Aquatic Design Group, working with Davis Partnership and Cannon Design, were challenged with rehabbing the existing diving well and lap pool in the student recreation center and creating a new outdoor experience that could service lap swimmers, casual swimmers, loungers, and students who just wanted a place to play in the water outdoors.

The two existing pools were comingled and treated as one body of water. All the equipment for these pools were located in the basement beneath the recreation center. The room was very cramped and full of equipment that was 30+ years old. Aquatic Design Group worked to provide a solution that reused this existing space as code required that each pool now have its own separate equipment.

As part of a LEED Platinum project selecting the most efficient and energy friendly equipment was imperative to the success of the overall project. In addition to the complete rehabilitation of the two existing pools, a new outdoor pool was added that closely matches “Ralphie” the school mascot. This shape and idea came out of a student focus group and is a terrific example of how important interaction and input from students is to the success of any project. “Ralphie” consists of two lap lanes, a lounge ledge, and a hydrotherapy area.

The Results

An overwhelming success, the rehabilitated indoor pools use 30% less water and heat than the old systems. The outdoor pool uses reject heat from the new ice rink in the student recreation center and does not utilize any natural gas or electricity for its temperature control. In addition to providing a great experience for current students, “Ralphie” has become a highly discussed amenity among alumni.