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Outdoor Aquatics Meets PICP at Newtown Athletic Club
By Doug Scott, Pavestone Sales Representative (Boston)

The team at Olhson Lavoie Collaborative from Denver chose permeable interlocking concrete pavers for the new outdoor aquatic facility at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pa. Besides the PICP around the pool areas, the facility now has retaining walls that address the site's elevation changes. This pool is a zero-entry pool, meaning that one of the entrances is sloped, making it easier for those with mobility issues to enjoy the water.

The segmental retaining walls installed at the facility cover a total of 12,000 square feet. Hickory blend Versa-Lok Square Foot retaining wall blocks and hickory blend pavers were used throughout the site, giving the project a uniform look.

In late 2012, the extremely popular fitness center Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) in Newtown, Pa., an affluent suburb of Philadelphia in the Delaware Valley, underwent an impressive expansion to its outdoor amenities. Already well known for its fitness center and indoor sports complex, they embarked on an expansion that would make their club more appealing to a wider audience: an outdoor aquatics facility.

For a project of this scope and size, the owners selected architects Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative of Denver. OLC has extensive experience with projects related to the health and fitness industries. Doni Versani of OLC brought 30 years of health, fitness, and aquatic design experience to the project.

Plans included a comprehensive outdoor aquatics area with lazy river, zero entry pool, 25' slides, and dedicated kids' and adults' pools and hot tubs. A project of this size and scope provided some unique challenges. OLC had to consider the site, municipal requirements, and integration of the desired aquatic amenities within set parameters. Versani and the OLC team faced challenges relative to the amount of usable land, impervious surface requirements, and proper placement of the aquatic structures within the site's considerable elevation changes.

After determining that the on-site soils were sufficient, OLC proposed permeable pavers for the pool decks because they allow for the most efficient use of the space and the best use of the team's design capabilities. After reviewing the hardscape options, they settled on a combination of the Munich green permeable paver and the Munich paver with a Mill-Tec® surface for solid surface areas. The pavers were used for the outdoor pool, patio and concession areas at the new NAC aquatic facilities. Versa-Lok® Square Foot™ units were used for the segmental retaining walls that separate the upper and lower pools and the detention pond.

Munich green permeable pavers and Munich pavers with a Mill-Tec finish were both used around the pool area. The PICP collects the water that falls to the ground and filters it to the detention pond. This drainage method means the surface is level; traditional pool surfacing would need to be sloped towards a drain.

Newtown officials were initially opposed to using PICP around the pool, as they were unsure it would meet their surfacing requirements. Once OLC explained the benefits of PICP, including that it would keep potential contaminants away from the pools, the township consented to the use of the pavers. The pavers closest to the pool are installed in a K pattern with rectangular and square pavers. The rectangular permeable pavers, slightly farther from the edge of the pool, are installed in lines.

Versani felt the proposed design would meet the municipality's surfacing requirements, would contribute in keeping contaminants away from the pools, and would be aesthetically beneficial for this environment. Surfacing requirements vary widely from municipality to municipality, and Newtown officials were initially opposed to the use of permeable interlocking concrete pavers. By working with the municipality, explaining the benefits, showing the product, and making a valid argument to their benefit, OLC was eventually able to successfully secure the town's approval for the use of PICP.

Utilizing PICP benefitted the NAC as well as OLC's plans. OLC was able to shrink the size and depth of the detention pond, thereby expanding the usability of the land. They designed the pavers and segmental retaining walls along the site's topography to put the PICP to work capturing any water that falls on the pool decks. Water collected on the pool deck is filtered to the detention pond below through a series of pipes in the subbase. A solid surface, such as traditional poured concrete, would have required the surface to be pitched away from the pools for drainage, which would have in turn led to more challenges with the site's elevation changes.

The NAC site currently encompasses a total of 37,000 square feet of concrete pavers. After careful consideration, OLC chose to keep areas closer to the concession areas as standard interlocking concrete pavers instead of permeable. This is due to the fact that grease and oil spills are much more likely to occur near concession areas, and power washing is easier on solid surfaces than it is on permeable surfaces.

PICP also enhances the area's aesthetics, and provides the ability to seamlessly add and remove pavers from certain areas while maintaining those aesthetics. For example, not long after the initial installation, there became a need to add permanent umbrellas. This addition required some pavers to be removed, a concrete sleeve to be poured, and the pavers reinstalled around the umbrellas. Other, more traditional surfacing materials would have caused the area around the newly installed umbrellas to appear unsightly; the pavers have eliminated that concern as the expansion continues.

Some elevation challenges had to be addressed to incorporate the variety of outdoor amenities this project holds. In order to maximize the available space, 12,000 square feet of retaining wall was installed to separate the upper and lower pools, and the detention pond below. OLC chose the same hickory color for both the pavers and wall blocks to keep a uniform look throughout the project.

The NAC has undergone two successful expansions, including the PICP installation at the aquatic center. A third expansion is slated to begin later in 2015. Versani and OLC, as well as the NAC, have expressed their satisfaction with the pavers' performance and the benefits they have provided for the site.

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August 20, 2019, 10:09 am PDT

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