LGA redesigned neighborhood hangout with equal parts nostalgia, expertise
HENDERSON, Nev. – As an architect who grew up in Las Vegas, going “home again” is a relative term. When Craig Galati heard the opportunity was available to upgrade and redesign the Garside Junior High School pool, it was better than going home – it took the architect back to junior high school.
Galati, principal at LGA, attended the school, located at 300 S. Torrey Pines Drive, from 1972 to 1975. A member of Garside’s diving club, Galati spent a lot of time at the school’s pool as a kid.
He and the LGA team had big ideas for the project once they were awarded the bid. The project is expected to be completed in time for this year’s swim season.
“We were pretty happy about it,” Galati said. “You don’t often get the chance to do work in the neighborhood where you grew up.”
The project was designed with additional shade, a beach-entry pool, a lap pool, play structure with large slide, and splash pool, complete with ichthyosaur, the state fossil of Nevada. The project also was designed to eventually accept solar thermal power.
The theme of the project surrounds the role water played in the creation of the Las Vegas Valley. Dried up watering holes, a faded water line along the locker room building and the mosaic ichthyosaur in the splash pool are some of the educational elements, Galati said.
To him, the project was created with equal parts nostalgia and LGA design expertise. On the city side, the project was led by Michael Viaovich, architectural project manager for the city of Las Vegas public works department, who also attended Garside Junior High School.
“One of the things we kept clear was to create the feeling of a resort, a gateway from the daily grind. It’s not your typical public pool,” Galati said. “We tried to gear it for little kids but fun for the big kids, too.”
According to the city of Las Vegas, the Garside Junior High School pool was originally built in 1971, and the idea of upgrading the pool has been in the works for six years.
“It’s a blue collar neighborhood, a working neighborhood. It was when I was a kid and it is now,” Galati said. “We went to that pool every summer. It was a place where people gathered. It was the hangout for the neighborhood.”
Established in 1986, LGA is a cross-disciplinary, client-centered consulting firm that brings together the disciplines of architecture, sociology and sustainability using a collaborative, participatory and community-based process. Best known for its work on the LEED-certified Springs Preserve master plan and one of only a handful of Platinum LEED-certified buildings in the world, the Desert Living Center at the Springs Preserve, LGA has been a longtime advocate of green design and green living.
For more information on LGA, call 702-263-7111 or visit www.lgainc.com.