January 21, 2009

Students offer design input for bathhouse project

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Carbondale swimmers may one day pull on their swimsuits and fins in a bathhouse conceived by a Southern Illinois University Carbondale architecture student.

The Carbondale Community Aquatics Center Advisory Committee to the Carbondale Park District has been working for nearly four years on a proposed outdoor community aquatics facility. Working with consulting/design firm Westport Pools of St. Louis, the committee has a design for a pool facility and it turned to the SIUC students for the accompanying bathhouse project, according to Sally Wright, chair of the advisory committee.

For two weeks, the Design VI Integration class of K. Thomas McPeek, assistant architecture professor at SIUC, is concentrating on the conceptualization. McPeek said the 15 seniors in the class are each producing a 30- by 42-inch sheet including a site plan, floor plan, elevations, sections and a minimum of four rendered perspectives. Advisory committee members met with the class in mid-January to discuss the project and what they’re looking for. Class members will present their completed projects to the committee in Room 122 at Quigley Hall at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23.

“The benefit from this project is really three-fold: the short duration of the project serves as a great warm-up exercise for the much larger project that will follow; this project offers an important opportunity for the students to perform a valuable service to their community; and this project gives the opportunity to work on and influence the outcome of a ‘real’ project,” McPeek said.

Students aren’t just working for a class grade either. There’s a $100 cash award for the winner, courtesy of the advisory committee. Wright said the committee will meet, in open session, at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Life Community Center, 2500 W. Sunset Drive, to select the winning bathhouse design.

“We’re looking at function and we’re looking for a theme to it,” Wright said. She said the entire facility must be handicapped accessible and include a family changing/restroom as well as changing/restrooms for men and women. It’ll have offices for the manager and lifeguards, a first aid station, a concessions area and entryway with cashier stand. It will comply with Illinois Department of Public Health codes and cover about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. Moreover, while very functional, it’ll have a definite visual appeal, Wright said.

Wright said the winning bathhouse plan, coupled with the pool plan from Westport, will go to the Carbondale Park District board for consideration and gathering of community support.