Share Your Thoughts With The City Of Austin On The Pool’s Entrance/Museum/Future!

Have your say, friends!

As part of the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation, the main entrance to Barton Springs Pool will be moved into the Beverly Sheffield Education Center and Splash! Exhibit.

This facelift will create an opportunity to educate everyone who visits the pool about the importance of protecting water and preserving salamander habitat.

The goal of this effort is to provide a first class facility for Barton Springs visitors for the next 70 years while maintaining the historic integrity of the facility and meeting program needs.

The city of Austin wants your input! Share your memories and vision for the space through January 11, 2020.

Splash! Sheffield Education Center — Education Exhibit Community Meeting (December 5, 2019) — Join Us!

Please attend the Community Meeting at Barton Springs Bathhouse this Thursday (Dec. 5, 5:30-7:30pm, BSP Bathhouse, 2201 William Barton Drive).   The meeting will provide community members with an opportunity to share their views on what Splash! Exhibit has meant to them and to help PARD identify how a revitalized exhibit space can continue to educate the next generation of visitors to Barton Springs.  As understood, the objective of the meeting is to solicit input on guiding design themes for use by interpretive planning consultant (fd2s) which is working on the education exhibit design process.

Throughout the Bathhouse Rehab project, we have emphasized the importance of making environmental education a key part of any final bathhouse design that improves the visitor experience.  Indeed, 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.  While there are many, conflicting needs at the bathhouse that compete with the educational function, we want improved and updated education to be part of the bathhouse visitor/entrance space, even if other topics should also be included.  Generally speaking, this can be achieved by advocating for the following design outcomes at the meeting:

•            Including a rotating exhibit space in the design;

•            Emphasizing that exhibits should emphasize natural elements, and should not have an excessively “computer screen design” feel;

•            Including exhibits that convey pool water quality/quantity information in real time;

•            Requiring that any Art in Public Spaces have a thematic connection to the “place” or “science” of Barton Springs;

•            Including cultural and/or historic content in the exhibit design;

•            Consider using exit routes through rotunda for education opportunities;

•            Including live salamander or other native plant/animal life in the exhibit;

•            If the exhibit space will be air-conditioned, keep current/east entrance opened for pool entrance access;

•            Provide design to enable day teaching opportunities for swimmers;

•            Show status of watershed protection land acquisition of Edwards Aquifer and city’s history in acquiring development/easement rights;

•            Include stewardship opportunities for taking action, including pool behavior, conservation measures, private philanthropy, and bond support for watershed protection; and

•            Emphasizing that the educational content should, in addition, focus on the pool experience (e.g., swim experience, culture, history, etc.).

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 Bathhouse Exhibit project, be sure to visit the city’s Sheffield Education Center Exhibit 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 exhibit design process.

Board Officer Election Results for 2020

We are pleased to announce that Friends of Barton Springs Pool has elected the following slate of officers for the upcoming year, 2020:

Stacey Buchanan, President
David Cothran, Vice President
Ashley Todd, Treasurer
Sarah Williams, Secretary
Mike Cannatti, Advocacy Chair
Mark Jensen, Communications Chair
Carole Geffen, Fun Chair
Brian Keough, Fundraising Chair
Currently Vacant, Membership Chair
Marc Czo, Service Chair

The recent addition of Stacey Buchanan and David Cothran to the board brings a ton of energy, environmental expertise, and passion for all things Spring-y.  All of this and more will be needed to fill in for Steve Barnick and Laurie Evans who now have earned some rest and respite from their roles as board president and treasurer.  Our deepest gratitude to Steve and Laurie for the years of service, and also to Stacey and David for their willingness to step up to the board leadership positions.  Thanks y’all!


For the upcoming cleaning on Thurs., Oct. 3, access to the north or bathhouse side will be restricted/impossible due to ACL Festival parking and prep, so we’re alerting our wonderful Friends of Barton Springs Pool volunteers to park on the SOUTH side in the lot off of Azie Morton Rd. and enter the pool from the south entrance.  The gate will be closed but it will be unlocked. The volunteers will then need to walk to the bathhouse side to check in and get instructions on what we are working on that day. More park access details below and at this link.
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President’s Report: August, 2019


We are fast approaching the end of the pool cleaning season with Sept. 5 and Oct. 3 being the last of the first Thursday dates to volunteer, along with Councils Cleans the Pool on Thursday (Oct. 24).  The season has been very successful working with corporate sponsors like AMD, C3 Presents, Wholefoods along with teams from all walks of life like ABGB, BRC Recovery, Austin Allies, Austin Youthworks, Progress Texas, and of course our loyal Friends!  Folks, when you add up all the people/hours, we put up staggering numbers —  500+ volunteers putting in 3000+ volunteer hours at the pool!


Aquatic plants in the pool update.  We have a new approach that takes into account some successes that were realized in the past along with a better commitment from PARD and Watershed. FBSP will be leading a team that will help with planting and maintaining the plants.  To better prepare the plants, we are going to create a nursery.  The planting will be done during the scheduled partial draw-downs of the pool to make it easier and safer.  If anyone is interested in finding out more about this effort, check out our website or email me at

Speaking of partial draw-downs, FBSP has been advocating for this since 2006 as a way of improving water quality.  When the pool is drawn down, it kills the algae in the shallow end, and BSP Staff is able to get the bobcat with the power brush and hoses (Broom Brigade on steroids…) to wash away the organics and make it less slippery for swimmers.


Opening up the upper dam to creek flow something that we have been advocating for since 2006.  I could go on and on about the benefits and I encourage anyone interested in learning more to refer to the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan.  The good news is Watershed recognized the benefits and took on this project.  Furthermore, they have progressed to the point where they hired an engineering firm to design the gates, and develop a plan for when to take advantage of creek flow in the pool.  We have been involved all along the way with meetings and discussions and are looking forward to seeing what they have designed.   We encourage everyone to support this effort, again if you are interested in finding out more about this effort email me at


Barton Creek Safety update.  Joe Riddell, a long-time environmental activist and avid kayaker of the creek, has led this charge and succeeded in getting the Environmental Board to create a resolution to council for “Safety improvements above Barton Springs Pool for inner-tubers and boaters” (Environmental Commission Motion 20190619 007b).  In the short term, you should be seeing some signs over the creek and a temporary location for getting off the creek upstream from the upper dam.  In the long term, a more formal way to safely get off the creek will be installed near where the gravel trap dam was.  Another area of concern that sadly resulted in a drowning at the inlet to the bypass tunnel will be to make changes to the inlet gate to improve the safety.


Council Cleans the Pool is an event we have sponsored over the years and it is going to  happen again on Thurs, October 24.  Areas of interest for this event will be an update on Bathhouse Rehabilitation project, Barton Creek Safety, Upper Dam Protect, Zilker Park Master Plan, Repopulating Aquatic Plants, and identifying potential bond projects to benefit the park.  Oh, and we also strongly encourage our mayor and council members to get in the pool, grab a broom and help put that shine on our beloved pool. We also hope to plant some trees again this year.

See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick, FBSP President