March 16, 2020

Award Winning – The Plunge Pool and Fit Athletic Club

The Plunge, inside Belmont Park, opened in 1925 as a Natatorium.  Originally a 60’ x 175’ saltwater swimming pool being directly feed from the ocean, the Plunge has since been a staple of not only the Mission Beach community but also the San Diego community. Most of the residents within San Diego will tell you that they learned how to swim at The Plunge. The historical significance can still be seen at The Plunge today. The mosaic tile within the pool is an exact replica of the tile that was used in 1925. The Arches on the North, East and West sides are replicas of original precast arches that not only tie The Plunge back to its origin but also a majority of historic San Diego.


The aquatic facility most recently closed its doors in 2014 due to unsafe conditions. Originally planned was a repair effort to bring the facility back to an operable condition but due to cost escalations the project was turned into a complete reconstruction. Due to the harsh environment (being within 100 yards of the ocean) the building was designed for two separate climate conditions. The Plunge, for all construction and design related purposes considered exterior. This meant the structure and finishes were all designed to be anticorrosive. Aluminum was utilized for all of the structural components, stainless steel and glass was utilized for the majority of the interior finishes.  The FIT addition was designed with positive pressure to ensure that when doors were opened and occupants are moving from one area to the next, any chlorine and salt air would be minimized from entering.


The new construction consisted of an aluminum ‘Open Aire’ structure complete with operable windows at 8’ above finished floor throughout the perimeter.  A retractable roof works in tandem with the mechanical system to bring fresh air into the Natatorium and maintain the set point temperature desired by the operator. FIT was brought in to design and operate the high end fitness facility attached to The Plunge. FIT has incorporated two levels of mezzanines within The Plunge that will be used for group fitness and cardio. These mezzanine rooms within FIT are also equipped with vertical lift windows that can open to allow for a grand view and experience while exercising. The South end of the gym was fitted with a glass railed roof top courtyard equipped with a turf field for yoga or a group fitness which has vast views of South Mission Beach.


The award-winning project received numerous accolades from the design and construction community including the prestigious Orchid Award for Interior Design by the San Diego Architectural Foundation. The annual Commercial Real Estate Awards included The Plunge in the Best Public Project award category. 


Watch video here.