Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether the city should invest $77 million in new aquatics and indoor recreation facilities. If they say yes, here's a look at what changes are coming for Frank Olson and Kuehn Park pools.

Why it matters

  • Both the Frank Olson and Kuehn Park pools are aging and need to be replaced. The city has been working for the last few years to seek community feedback and figure out how best to meet everyone's needs with new facilities.
  • Throughout that feedback, Sioux Fallsians said loud and clear that they want more indoor recreation opportunities – a sentiment backed up by the growing crowds of folks at the Midco Aquatic Center and highlighted by Mayor Paul TenHaken in his recent State of the City address.
  • Now, the city is looking at adding an indoor rec center at Frank Olson Park, a new outdoor pool at Kuehn Park and – as announced just last week – the purchase of the Tea/Ellis Sanford Wellness Center to provide even more indoor recreation for west-siders.
"From my perspective, this is a home run for us on many counts," Parks Director Don Kearney said last week in a press conference announcing the details of the bond and the Sanford Wellness Center purchase.

Tell me more about the plans for the new pools

Kuehn Park will go from having an L-shaped box pool to a full-on outdoor aquatic center, Park Development Specialist Mike Patten told Sioux Falls Simplified.

That will include:

  • an 8-lane, 25-yard fitness pool,
  • diving boards and a rock climbing wall,
  • a water slide,
  • a lazy river,
  • a zero-depth entry lifestyle pool,
  • spray features,
  • shade,
  • and a large sun deck.
"It more than doubles the capacity of the pools," Patten said. "It will probably be the most popular outdoor pool in town because it's going to have the most features."

The new Kuehn Park pool is projected to cost $18 million, Kearney said.

Meanwhile, Frank Olson Park will get a significant transformation with the addition of a $47 million, 80,000-square-foot indoor recreation center.

The center will include:

  • a six-lane, 25-yard pool for lap swimming,
  • diving boards,
  • a waterslide that starts inside, goes outside a little bit and then goes back inside,
  • a lazy river and warm-water pool.

Beyond aquatics, the indoor rec center will also have:

  • an indoor walking track,
  • space for court sports (basketball, volleyball, pickleball, etc.)
"It’s a multi-story building, but it’s kind of set into the hillside so the scale of it doesn't dwarf all of the neighboring houses," Patten said.

Frank Olson park will also see some outdoor improvements, with some additional pickleball courts on the north side of the park and a number of traffic calming measures to help make it easier to connect the two sides of the park across 18th Street.

What happens next?

The final public meetings will be held this week, with Kuehn Park's on Wednesday and Frank Olson's on Thursday. Then the bond will go to the City Council for final approval on May 7 and 14.

  • Learn more here about the final public meetings and how to submit feedback.