The Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center seems to have something for almost everyone. It’s already a lively place, with the unmistakable echo of basketballs smacking against the gym floor as kids weave and drive. Older Denverites work up a sweat on the workout equipment. A 2-year-old walks around aimlessly, drinking milk.
And within the next few years kids will splash around, adults will swim laps and maybe the now-5-year-old will learn how to swim in the rec center’s brand new natatorium, better known as an indoor pool.
“It’s going to be huge because we have an outdoor pool in the Green Valley Ranch area and it’s only open for two months out of the summer,” said Matt Roberts, a coordinator who guides kids at the rec. “So for our kids to be able to swing me around, like in this community, swimming isn’t a big thing.”
The project is one of many approved by voters in 2017 when they OK’d bonds worth nearly $1 billion. It will cost about $15 million and is slated to be finished in 2022.
The pool’s design is fluid. This summer, Denver Parks and Recreation and Denver Public Works will work with an architect and the neighborhood to decide specifics — including what will be inside.
Water slides, diving boards and even a wave pool are all on the table, according to Craig Coronato, a supervisor of landscape architecture for the parks and rec department. Manufactured waves are probably too expensive, he added, but we’ll see.
“Pool technology has changed so much over time so we’re going to have to present concepts and get reactions from the community on whether they love it or hate it, what they want us to change,” Coronato said. “We’ll probably have to balance family areas with lap swimmers.”
Sayo Owolabi, 16, grew up going to the GVR rec and is now a counselor in training. He had no idea the indoor pool was coming, but his eyes lit up when he found out.
“Oh yeah. I’ll be using it,” he said.
Owolabi said everyone probably will. It gives people a place to swim year-round in the far-flung neighborhood.
The pool will be one more draw to a rec center that is more than a hangout. According to Owolabi, it’s more like a big house for a big family.
“Everyone’s here,” he said. “It’s like your family and your home. There’s food for the kids. Like if they have nothing to do, they come here and treat it like a normal day. If they’re hungry, they eat, get back to basketball, go home, come back and do it again.”
A gym expansion could be in the cards if the budget allows, Coronato said.
Green Valley Ranch isn’t the only neighborhood getting a new pool. Congress Park is getting a new one, too, to replace its 50-plus-year-old pond. It will be finished in 2021.
This article was updated to correct the cost of the natatorium, which costs $15 million, not $1.2 million.