Plumbing design is a critical component of any building but becomes more complex when the building includes a pool or aquatic center. Such was the case for the new Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance, which opened last fall on the campus of Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.
The center connects academics and athletics in one physical space and is the home of the college’s new kinesiology program, growing public health program, as well as the men’s and women’s swimming/diving and new water polo teams.
In addition to commons spaces, faculty offices, classrooms, human performance labs and locker rooms, the Lindberg Center also includes the Anne Greve Lund Natatorium, which features a state-of-the-art 10-lane, 25-yard, 7-foot-depth pool; two diving boards (1 meter and 3 meters); a movable bulkhead that provides the flexibility for different uses; and retractable bleachers that can accommodate up to 250 spectators.
A Swim Performance Lab with a SwimEx pool system provides sports physical therapy, training and swimming stroke analysis.
While IMEG Corp. provided several design services for the center, this article focuses on the firm’s design of the plumbing, hydronics and fire protection systems.
The building is served by a combined water service with the fire protection system. The domestic cold water piping system is isolated via a reduced-pressure primary backflow preventer. A pressure-regulating valve is incorporated into the domestic water piping system to protect the porcelain fixtures due to the high incoming water pressure available from the city.
Condensing, high-efficiency water heaters with condensate neutralization drains distribute 140 F water throughout the building to address microbiological growth concerns in the piping systems. This hot water is mixed down to lower temperatures based on various end uses, including lavatories, sinks, mop basins, showers, emergency eyewash fixtures and hot water hose bibs on the pool deck.
The building is located on a steeply sloped site with more than 30 feet of elevation change in the grade. A multitiered under-slab and foundation drainage tile system was installed below the building, including under the pool. While the steep grade added to the complexity of coordinating piping systems at multiple elevations, it also allowed us to route the drainage tile, storm drainage and sanitary, including the pool drainage, via gravity out to the site’s sewer infrastructure.
Low-flow plumbing fixtures were specified for water closets, urinals, lavatories and showers to conserve water resources (see Figure 1). In addition, all the plumbing fixtures incorporate hard-wired sensors to further reduce water usage along with maintenance.
Primary storm piping systems were collected and routed via gravity to the city sewer. The secondary storm system was accomplished via a sloped roof structure and overflow scuppers.
The building uses high-efficiency condensing boilers to feed a low-temperature heating water system. It includes variable-volume pumping for energy efficiency and serves traditional terminal heating equipment throughout the building, sized to operate with low entering water
The heating water system also serves a recirculating condenser water piping system for the water-cooled variable-refrigerant volume (VRV) equipment.
Lastly, it serves the pool water heating needs via heat exchanger equipment. Pre-insulated PEX piping is routed under the slab to serve perimeter radiation; it also is routed underground to the pool’s mechanical room to free up valuable plenum space in the lower level for other utility distribution and higher reflected ceiling heights (see Figure 2).
The building uses the campus’s primary pumping and chilled water piping system in conjunction with heat exchanger equipment to supplement the recirculating condenser water piping system for the water-cooled VRV equipment. This allows for year-round load recovery/sharing within the building and across the campus system for increased energy efficiency.
Fire Protection Systems
A combined automatic sprinkler system with a wet standpipe serves the building. The fire protection system is served from a combined water service with the domestic water, intended to help avoid stagnant water in the fire protection main. The standpipe is charged by the fire department pumper truck.
The sprinkler systems serving the building provide light hazard and ordinary Group 1 density coverage based on NFPA 13 hazard requirements. They are separated into two zones, one for the spaces exposed to pool air and one for the remaining spaces.
The systems serving spaces not exposed to pool air are fed from Schedule 40 and Schedule 10 black steel piping with flat-plate, concealed sprinklers in finished ceiling areas. These systems also serve areas such as the student common spaces; these areas feature cloud ceilings, so a second layer of sprinkler protection is provided above the clouds.
The design team evaluated eliminating this second layer per NFPA guidance but, ultimately, the aesthetic requirements of the desired cloud layout did not allow the team to meet the criteria that would have permitted omitting these sprinklers.
The areas exposed to pool air are served by sprinkler systems fed from CPVC piping and PTFE-coated sprinklers to resist degradation from the chemicals in the pool air (see Figure 3).
Aquatic Design and Code Compliance
Each state has its own standards that must be met for pools. Water Technology Inc. (WTI), which served as the aquatic designer on the project, was responsible for the coordination among the entire design team to ensure all documents were suitable for submission for the Illinois Department of Public Health Pool Construction Permit.
In Illinois, there are three main statutes with which a pool project must comply: Illinois Swimming Facility Act, Swimming Pool Safety Act, and the Swimming Facility Code. In addition, WTI was responsible for complying with sanctioning organizations such as the NCAA, U.S. Swimming Standards and the U.S. Water Polo Association.
WTI also closely coordinated with IMEG for the aquatic mechanical elements such as the water treatment systems. This included pool autofill details, filter drainage piping, surge tank drainage piping, pool deck drainage layout, pool gutter drainage piping, chemical storage exhaust systems, pool water heating systems and controls, and circulation piping.
This required close coordination with the pool contractor, plumbing contractor, heating contractor and electrical contractor across more than 35 different drawings. This coordination included details such as piping sizes, piping flow rates, associated routing through the building, equipment capacities, etc.
‘Best Facility in the Conference’
The $18 million, 52,000-square-foot Lindberg Center opened for use in August 2021 and was dedicated in October in memory and honor of Dr. Peter J. Lindberg, a medical oncologist and 1961 graduate of Augustana College.
“How appropriate it is to integrate a building with academic programs focused on health and wellness with athletic facilities and a meditation room that keep our students fit and well,” says Augustana College President Steven Bahls. “Just as Dr. Lindberg touched so many lives, this building will touch generations of students who will be inspired by his legacy to view health holistically and to view health as part of their growth during their college years.”
Located at the north end of the center, the natatorium — with its expansive windows providing natural light — provides the most modern of amenities for student-athletes during training and competition.
“This is the best facility in our conference by far and one of the best dual-purpose facilities in the Midwest for swimming and water polo,” notes Dan Lloyd, head swimming/diving coach.
Phillip Richards, PE, LEED AP, is a mechanical engineer at IMEG Corp., where he has served as a project manager and lead mechanical engineer for higher education, sports and recreation, historic renovation, health-care, industrial, government and commercial building projects.