Wellmark YMCA

Des Moines, Iowa

Facility 140,000 GSF
Swimming Pool 186,000 GSF

Alvine Engineering worked in concert with Wellmark YMCA , the architect, structural, and civil engineers, to collaboratively design the innovative $29 million facility, making it one of the largest downtown YMCAs in the United States.

The Wellmark YMCA building transformed a vacant two-story convention center into a new downtown recreational centerpiece. With a new gym, large locker rooms, whirlpools, saunas, 1/8-mile indoor track, handball and racquetball courts, squash courts, indoor cycling studio, and wellness center, the Wellmark YMCA is a state-of-the-art facility.

The gigantic area dedicated to cardio has about 65 pieces of cardio equipment, including personal TVs, and has the ability to expand to about 100 pieces.

“To be in the heart of downtown Des Moines with a 50-meter pool and attached to the skywalk [system] with the facilities and programs [we offer], it will be a YMCA second to none,” said Vernon Delpesce, former president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. The Olympic-sized swimming pool will offer 1,500 seats bordering three sides of the pool. A warm-up pool also serves the natatorium of the YMCA.


  • Custom natatorium air handling system with passive and active heat reclaim for exhaust air.
  • Heat reclaim from the dehumidification cycle puts waste heat into the pool water.
  • The pool heater and domestic water heaters are high-efficiency, tankless-style to provide significant energy savings.
  • LED lighting and controls help save power energy, as well.

Photography credit: Assassi Productions and CMBA Smith Metzger

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