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Case Study: Aquatic Center Echo Challenges


Prior to the opening of Northwest ISD (NISD) Aquatic Center in January 2021, in Justin, Texas, the school district rented facilities in other communities for swimming and diving, which required travel outside of the area and limited practice times. Built to accommodate five high school swim teams, the aquatic center is located on the central campus to provide convenient access to students and the community.

The aquatic center is a multi-use facility that includes a 71-yard stretch competition pool, four-lane 25-yard practice pool, seating for 850 guests and a full-service sports medicine rehabilitation center. To improve the user experience and minimize acoustical issues that are common to indoor pools, pinta acoustic’s WHISPERWAVE and SONEX Valueline acoustic panels in custom colors were installed in the new 80,000-square-foot facility.

Most people have experienced the echo in indoor pools that leads to difficulty hearing and understanding swimmers, coaches and lifeguards, which can pose a safety risk. The acoustic products absorb sound energy from coaching, raised voices from enthusiastic participants and spectators, buzzers and music. The panels prevent sound waves from bouncing between hard planes such as concrete, glass and the water surface, which is a significant source of sound reverberation.

Lauren Hoyle, RID, from Huckabee architectural firm in Fort Worth, Texas, researched acoustic products that could withstand high humidity in the aquatic center. These acoustic products are resistant to mold, fungus and bacterial growth, making them ideal for an indoor pool facility.

“I wanted them to look like a wave,” says Hoyle. “In addition to offering a product with fluid lines, pinta was able to provide custom colors to represent flowing water. Tyler Luttrell from Architectural Materials, Inc., pinta’s Texas distributor, and pinta’s team were very responsive with answers to questions and pricing. The facility owner liked the design a lot and chose the purchase and installation of the panels.”

A top bright-blue color band of 30 SONEX Valueline panels was installed, using pinta’s acouSTIC adhesive, above the tall windows on the wall and opposing accordion glass partitions in the practice pool area. Additionally, WHISPERWAVE panels in four acoustic-coated colors, including white and bright blue with two lighter shades of blue in the same color family were installed in the competition pool area.

The panels are made from lightweight, nonfibrous, open-cell expanded melamine WILLTEC foam. Both products pass Class A per ASTM E84 flame spread and smoke density standards, as well as CAN ULCS-102.

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