Fort Lauderdale has long retained its title as a leader among aquatic destinations. Since opening the first Olympic size swimming pool in the state of Florida in 1928 followed by the Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965, the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center has been the honorable host of hundreds of national and international events and has witnessed the creation of ten world records. However, after over 50 years of serving the community, the city made the decision to renovate the facility to ensure that Fort Lauderdale remains a destination for world-class aquatic events and serves as the best home for the International Swimming Hall of Fame and museum.
A World-Class Facility
The Center has now been restored to its former glory and is now the home to the first precast concrete dive tower in the world, which combines springboard, platform, and high diving and further cements Fort Lauderdale in aquatic facility history.
In August 2018, Counsilman-Hunsaker, Hensel Phelps Construction Company, Cartaya & Associates Architects, Gate Precast, Weller Pools, Keith & Associates, Langan, WSP, HyPower Inc, Econstruct, Southeast Precast Erectors and Right Way Plumbing Company were chosen as the design-build team to begin preparing construction documents for a redesigned aquatic sports venue. The facility broke ground in April 2019 and was completed and reopened to the public in September 2022.
The newly renovated facility includes two new pools and a spa, in addition to the existing 50-meter training pool. The new pools include a 50-meter competition pool with two six-foot wide bulkheads and a 25-meter dive pool with a 27-meter dive tower, the first of its kind in the western hemisphere. The competition and dive pool were designed to be FINA-compliant, allowing it to host large international competitions.
The current 50-meter pool, used for training purposes, was fully renovated. Additionally, a new spa was built, offering support to athletes using the diving tower. A new mechanical building houses new filtration systems, pumps, and chlorination systems that serve each pool, with over 2.6 million gallons flowing through. A grandstand was built on top of the mechanical building, allowing seating for over 1,500 spectators. Two additional buildings were built to support the aquatic center which include bathrooms for spectators, locker rooms for athletes as well as additional support spaces required to host international level events.
Additional renovations included:
- Raised pool deck level elevation to allow for increased pool depths for competition-level use. New pool deck surface throughout.
- Removed existing grandstand building and bleachers on north side of facility and provided new mechanical building with grandstand with metal bleachers allowing for over 1,500 spectators. New spectator restrooms, concessions, ticket office building including large outdoor rooftop terrace overlooking the dive pool.
- Removed existing south building housing locker rooms and pool offices and replaced with new locker room building that also houses support spaces required to host international level competitions.
- Provided site improvements that included parking and drainage enhancements, new stadium lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, and new main entry plaza.