Just six days after the official start of summer, residents in western Las Vegas gathered Friday to celebrate the grand opening of Garside Pool.
The new pool, complete with a diving board, two large slides, a four-lane lap pool and a play structure for younger kids, replaced the original Garside Pool that was built in 1968 and had begun to fall apart.
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian greeted first-time users of the pool with a brief speech about how it was designed to embody Nevada’s history and provide a fun, family-friendly, educational escape from the desert heat. A hand-sculpted tactile panel illustrating an eroded desert, a recycled-glass mosaic of a prehistoric fish and real fossils juxtaposed the newness of the facility with the geologic age of the region.
“The area is so rich and exciting in its past, and people don’t even realize it,” Tarkanian said.
Her faux-bone earrings dangled against her Flintstones-esque, cheetah print sash as she pointed out fossils embedded in the mosaic.
LG Architects Inc., a Las Vegas firm, designed the pool and its facilities to look like an inland sink: an area once completely covered in water that was receding to reveal sea creature fossils and eroded stone.
“The level of care for this project was the highest I’ve ever experienced,” said John Haddad, LG Architects’ project design manager for the pool. “It was a labor of love.”
Tarkanian congratulated city personnel and crews from Core Construction Services of Nevada, Inc. who worked on the project, which came in under its $8.1 million budget and was completed a month before its deadline.
Core Construction contracted 27 companies to take care of the pool’s utilities, concrete, masonry and steel needs. The pool’s energy-efficient pumps will save the city money by using the least amount of power to produce the maximum flow possible: The entire 250,000-gallon pool can be filtered in under four hours.
Innovative, high-efficiency heating equipment will keep the pool heated and usable for six months out of the year, Tarkanian said. A longer swim season means that middle and high schools can use the lap pool for competitions.
Melissa Ruiz, a single mother of four, said she was grateful for the pool’s low entry fees and watchful lifeguards.
“I think it’s good that we can look across and see the kids,” Ruiz, 44, said over the intermittent shouts of children and lifeguards and, of course, splashes.
The pool, at 250 S. Torrey Pines Drive, will be open Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Daily use fees are $1 for children 4 to 17 years old, $2 for adults 18 to 49, and $1.50 for adults 50 and over. Children 3 and under are free.
Contact Kimber Laux at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @lauxkimber.