LOS LUNAS — The time is now to provide input on what you hope to see in an aquatic center in Los Lunas.  

On Dec. 14, the village of Los Lunas hosted a meeting to hear from members of the public about what their vision is for an aquatic center. A brief survey is also available online for the community to provide input.  

“The absence of swimming facilities, encompassing recreation, competitive, and therapeutic swimming, has been a long-standing concern for the community,” project documentation reads. “The residents of Los Lunas have expressed a desire for a swimming facility that could not only provide recreation but also serve therapeutic and competitive needs.” 

The meeting was led by Evan Eleff, a partner with Sports Facilities Advisory, and Kevin Port a representative of Counsilman Hunsaker, an aquatic planning and design firm. The village commissioned these companies to explore the possibilities of an aquatic center.  

“Probably the most important thing we can do is hear directly from you (the public) because you are the ones who will benefit from and use the facility the most,” said Eleff. 

At the meeting, Eleff and Port presented their process for developing aquatic centers and what kind of amenities the space could offer, ranging from lap lanes, water slides, hot tubs and more. They also presented some examples of other aquatic centers the company has worked on to give a sense of what is possible and how it could look.  

Pictured is an example of a municipal pool developed by Counsilman Hunsaker. Photo courtesy of Counsilman Hunsaker.

“Pools are vital to the health and safety of a community,” said Port. “Aquatic centers can also provide a wide variety of uses and multigenerational opportunities to participate in different activities like swim teams and clubs, group exercise classes, birthday parties and more.”  

Eleff said they have three main phases to get through before submitting a final report to the council in early or mid March. They are currently in the first phase, which involves market analysis and community engagement.  

“We are assessing the market and financial feasibility to see if it can be built and if it can generate some level of revenue to offset operating expenses to make it sustainable long term,” said Eleff. “It’s important we plan for an aquatic center that can reinvest into itself and has a plan so it doesn’t become a dilapidated asset in the community that faces closure like your old pool did.” 

At the meeting, members of the public said Belen’s pool is the closest option around for kids to utilize in the county, so an aquatic center is something the community desperately needs. The idea of an indoor/outdoor option was widely received and those in attendance said a facility that could be used year round is ideal.  

Eleff emphasized to the attendees this project is bigger than just Los Lunas, as an aquatic center will be beneficial for people from surrounding communities as well.  

“It’s not a village project, it’s a community project,” said Eleff. “We need community support to really get this off the ground. It should not fall all on Los Lunas’ shoulders; lots of organizations and potential partners should be part of this.” 

To further engage the community, the consultants created an online survey to learn more about the public’s preferences and what they rank as most important to have in the facility. The survey will be open until mid-January and data from it will be integral to the design of the facility.  

Port said they estimate the cost to construct the aquatic center to be around $20 million, so the more community engagement the survey receives the more momentum there will be to move the project forward.  

The survey can be found online here. The survey link is also available on the village’s website, loslunasnm.gov. 

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.