As a friendly reminder, please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14, 2018 (6-7:30pm at Zilker Botanical Gardens) for a Project Values and Program Workshop Community Meeting to discuss the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project. At the meeting, city staff and the design architects (Limbacher & Godfrey) will to provide an update and discuss the bathhouse design issues to get community feedback and input.
Through the meetings thus far, we have emphasized the importance of making environmental education a key part of any final bathhouse design that improves the visitor experience. In the community, there is strong agreement that the best and only way to preserve Barton Springs is by dramatically increasing our education efforts and public outreach to our growing population to educate the citizens and local officials about the threats to the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, and how we as a community can protect it for future generations. Currently, the competing needs at the bathhouse are in conflict and are squeezing the educational function, so we want expanded and improved education to be part of the bathhouse and any visitor education center. Generally speaking, this can be achieved by advocating for the following design outcomes:
- Implement the Master Plan’s recommendations for:
- returning the main entrance to the original entrances at the central rotunda,
- upgrading the gallery and creating a Visitor Center to provide a central organizing experience for all pool visitors, and
- updating the dressing areas and reconfiguring public restrooms for improved comfort and accessibility while respecting their historic architectural heritage.
- Implement the Feasibility Study’s detailed recommendations for protecting, enhancing and expanding the environmental education programming at the Bathhouse and/or a Visitor Education Center to improve the visitor experience by:
- reopening the rotunda entrances to enhance the entrance experience and to include environmental education exhibits, preferably while maintaining the current entrance,
- reopening (and restoring?) the Women’s Dressing Area to the extent possible,
- maintaining at least part of the central rotunda space and former basket room for public access (e.g., exhibits, environmental education, etc.), and
- dramatically increasing our education efforts and public outreach to our growing population to educate the citizens and local officials about the threats to the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, and how we as a community can protect it for future generations, since this is the best and only way to preserve Barton Springs,
- providing visitor education to address the environmental impact of sunscreen and “best practices” for minimizing impact,
- reducing impervious cover and/or improving water quality outcomes as part of the overall process.
These seem like good guiding design values that leave plenty of room for design options that can be developed by the architects.
For the latest information on the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project, be sure to visit the city’s Bathhouse Rehabilitation website for information on project goals and timeline for upcoming community meetings where you can join the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works Department, and other Barton Springs Stakeholders to provide input for the design process for the historic Barton Springs Bathhouse, extending the work of the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan, the Zilker Park Bathhouse Zone Feasibility Study, and 2012 Bond Package.