Inside Scott Carpenter Pool’s 2020 revamp: An expanded pool, lazy river, deep well, jungle gym

What’s new at Boulder’s upgraded largest outdoor public pool

By Tatyana Sharpton Aug 26 2020

Scott Carpenter Pool reopened to the public on Friday, August 21 after a long reconstructive period for lap access. Construction began at the end of February 2019 with the pool remaining closed to the public throughout the year and over half-way into 2020.

Tim Stabbe

The reopening features an expanded pool, from 9,535 square feet with six lanes, a water slide and one diving board to 12,300 square feet with 10 long-course lanes which convert to 20 short-course lanes, and an array of new features including a leisure pool with a jungle gym, a deep well, a lazy river, 30-foot body slides and splash pad.

Tim Stabbe, Boulder’s Aquatics Recreation Supervisor, gave us the tour of the new features; here’s what you have to look forward to!

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Expanded lap pool

Currently set up in its short-course configuration — meaning roped off across its width, making 20 short lap lanes as opposed to roping it off long-ways, new, 50-meter by 25-yard lap pool makes it easy for Boulderites to enjoy swimming social-distance style. Under state recommendations, Scott Carpenter allows one to two people per lane, maintaining six feet of social distance while swimming.

Though this summer, the center plans on keeping the pool set up in short-course configuration, next summer it will offer days and times for long-course lap swimming — presenting 10 lanes across the 50-meter length of the pool instead of what used to be six lanes prior to the update.

“Short course is good for multiple groups in the water at the same time to maximize space,” Tim tells BLDRfly. “Long course is preferable for distance swimmers and endurance athletes. Long course outdoor pools are quite rare, so this is pretty special.”

The pool has lap lanes available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. All patrons must make a reservation ahead of time.

Starting this weekend, families can also reserve leisure pods in the lap pool. Three lanes, four feet deep, get removed and re-roped to create five 16-foot by 24-foot pods of pool space. (Awesome.)

Residents can pay $24 for an hour of water time, for up to six family members. Non-residents pay $32.

The lap pools expansion took it from six lanes to 20. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.

Leisure pool

This zero-depth wading pool features a central jungle gym which shoots water from different parts and a bucket that fills up and dumps over, splashing everyone in its wake. Great for families! We’d say small kids — but we can’t wait to try it ourselves.

This feature takes the cake aesthetically, set right in the middle of the whole operation. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.

Deep well 

The deep well makes for another brand new feature of Boulder’s sneaky water park. Set back behind the leisure pool, to the side of the lap pool, the 12-foot deep and approximately 30-foot by 75-foot deep well has a one-meter diving board and a three-meter jumping platform. Next to the platform, a drop slide shoots you out of the tube into the water, and next to the slide a 10-foot tall rock wall rises along the edge of the water.

The cool thing about rock walls and aquatic features, Tim tells us — there’s no need to top rope; when you’re done climbing, you can just let go.

The deep well also offers those who need assistance a way in. Images: Tatyana Sharpton.

Lazy river

At the far edge of the pool center, a newly built, 3.5-foot deep lazy river path wraps in a rolling 100-foot curve around the far pavement and new features. Next summer, the pool facility plans to have water tubes available for residents to relax and enjoy a roll around the river.

Scott Carpenter Park’s leisurely lazy pool. Look for it next year! Images: Tatyana Sharpton.

30-foot body slides

Set back by the office building side of the pool, two massive 30-foot body slides stand tall, wrapping around each other like gargantuan, tangled roller coasters ending in individual splash pods. You just need to be 48″ tall and able to swim — though there’s not much swimming involved; the water has enough resistance to slow you to a stop.

The park’s 30-foot body slides. Can’t wait to see these in action. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.

Rocket ship splash pad

Built in fashion with the rest of the water park’s space theme, the splash pad features a rocket ship and variety of other fun-shaped mechanisms that will shoot water out and allow for small kids to run around. The splash pad will have no standing water, but a continuous flow of it coming from everywhere else!

Though the park didn’t have the water turned on, this splash pad will be perfect for the small ones to run around and play. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.

In addition to the aquatic features, the renovation also brought additional meeting and classroom space, as well as newly renovated offices for staff to exist year-round.

Where as previously, Scott Carpenter Pool offered only the pool itself, a slide that went into it and one diving board, we think you’ll agree that the redesigned space feels more like a mini water park nestled in the Flatirons.

Can’t wait for all the features to go live next summer, (and for Covid-19 to be a long-passed, distant memory.)

About the upgrade

The renovation delivers on the promise made through the 2017 Community, Culture and Safety Tax (CCS) initiative, supported by the Play Boulder Foundation.

The Scott Carpenter Pool Enhancement project has been in the works since 2015 when the city first identified a need to update the facility and began planning. After the approval of its final concept plan in January 2017, the city developed engineering structural plans and secured the $14.1 million of funding it needed.

Denise White

Denise White, a communications specialist for the City of Boulder who works with aquatic recreation, tells BLDRfly that construction on the project kicked off in spring 2019 and took a little over a year to complete.

“The $14.1 million contract for the project was made possible by a variety of funding sources,” says Denise, “including $4.2 million by the 2017 renewal of the Community Culture and Safety Tax, $5.3 million by parks development excise tax and $4.7 million of Parks and Recreation capital improvement funds.”

Due to Covid-19, the recreation center has decided to wait until spring of 2021 to make these additional features available to the public, but as of this Monday August 24, lap lanes have become available seven days a week.

Header Image: The top of the leisure pool’s astro-themed jungle gym. Image: Tatyana Sharpton.