25 yard compared to 50 meter – “To build or not to build”

Sooner or later, the people involved a pool project will find themselves asking this question – “Can we afford to build a 50 meter pool” ?

It is a valid question and one that should not only be asked, but carefully researched.  There are 3 distinct areas that need to be considered:

(1.)  What is the “cost to build” difference between the 25 yard pool and the 
        50 meter pool?

(2.)  What will be the difference in annual “operational cost”?

(3.)  What are the additional program income opportunities for the larger pool?

Taking these 3 points one at a time, we can share some basic information to help get the thought process started.  We have to make some assumptions to do the calculations:  


(1.) Assumption - The cost to build a pool will be around $180 a square foot.     USA Swimming has preferred providers who can meet or better this price in most locations.

Which to Build 1The above estimate includes pool and filtration and circulation equipment installed.

Assumption - The cost to cover example pools with an Architectural Membrane building will be about $35 per square foot installed.

Which to Build 2

The above estimate includes building installation with heat and lights.


The estimates do not include spectator seating, shower rooms, offices, or other supporting areas or equipment and, since these areas may remain constant for any of the above 3 examples they are not considered.

(2.) Annual operational cost for pool and its portion of building.  Average lower Midwest multiplier used for example.

Which to Build 3

(3.) Programming income – rental only.
Income analysis for lane rental for swim teams during peak hours:

Which Pool to Build 4
These figures are for comparison only - lane rental rates will vary depending on area
and demographical cost of living

Many times there is a mix of short course lane set up for long course water
This example does not assume that "capacity programming" can be attained at this many times “every day”

The short course or long course option will not greatly affect programs other than competitive lane rental.  There may be some population numbers or area “cost to operate” multipliers that need to be considered before any decision is made.  Contact the Facilities Development Department mnelson@usaswimming.org for detailed information.

For any facility to be operationally viable and a service to the community, more than one pool needs to be included in the plans.  We have only given “example” figures for the largest pool in the facility.


The other pools will probably remain consistent in size regardless of which large pool is included in the plans.

Which pool to build 5

ArenaBMWMarriottMyrtha PoolsOmegaPhillips 66SpeedoTYR