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The second-biggest swimming hall opened in Kuopio aims at a five-star customer experience

The new Kuntolaakso swimming hall was opened in Kuopio in the beginning of August. Conceived in cooperation with municipal residents, it aims to provide its users with a five-star customer experience.

– A survey enabled municipal residents to make a concrete difference on the service provision of the new swimming hall, says Kirsi Miettinen, a design lecturer of the Savonia University of Applied Sciences who was active in the Kuntolaakso project as a service designer for the City of Kuopio.

Thanks to the residents’ ideas, models for the swimming hall services were sought even abroad. The wish for a swimsuit dryer in Kuntolaakso and the consequent idea from Iceland are things that Miettinen recalls particularly well.

– The dryer solves both the competitive swimmers’ need for drying cabinets and the problem of putting schoolchildren’s wet swimsuits in rucksacks after a swimming lesson. It also reduces the need to pack swimsuits in plastic bags that are a burden to nature.

Lots of water surface, two gyms, and a wide variety of services

In terms of surface, the new swimming hall in Kuntolaakso is the second-biggest in Finland. It has, among other facilities, a 10-lane 50-metre main pool, a jumping pool with all the jumping levels required for a competition, a teaching/youth pool, a multi-purpose pool, a cold pool, a jacuzzi, and a kids’ pool. Massaging showers, a jacuzzi, an aroma sauna, daily gym supervision, body composition measuring, jumping quarter-hours, and virtual aquagym devices provide things to do even for a full day. The possibility to regulate the sauna temperatures and air humidity of the saunas to suit the customers’ wishes brings added comfort to the swimming hall experience. A small movable water slide and the playground next to the cafeteria ensure fun and enjoyment for the smallest family members as well.

– The lobby cafeteria combined with the restaurant on the ice hall side makes the new swimming hall a place where we can offer customers a wider range of services and more wellbeing, as Antti Riekkinen, the manager in charge of the service provision in the Kuntolaakso swimming hall, is delighted to say.

There are two gyms in the new swimming hall. The upstairs one has not only weight stack devices but also a squat spot, exercise cycles, and cross trainers as well as an adjacent group exercise room. The equipment of the downstairs gym is more suited for working out with free weights and has squat spots and hand weights for more than a few visitors.

Focus on an environmental point of view

An ecological point of view was a prominent factor when the services available in Kuntolaakso were being laid out as a whole. Using carbon dioxide to refrigerate the ice in the Niiralan Monttu ice hall situated in the same building complex with the swimming hall is a case in point.

– Niiralan Monttu is the first Finnish ice hall to make use of carbon dioxide technology. Compared with other refrigerating agents, it is a far more environment-friendly solution. Besides, the condensation heat generated by the cooling is used to heat the swimming hall, the Caverion site manager Timo Lehto tells.

Savings are also generated by filtering the rinsing water of the pools when used water can, thanks to reverse osmosis, put back to circulation as completely clean water. On the other hand, the heat in the water is transferred into a water tank via a coil in the sewer pipe. Furthermore, the swimming hall is lit with modern adjustable LED fixtures that generate considerable energy savings and create excellent lighting conditions both for various situations in everyday use and for the high standards required in international competitions.

The single-use sauna seat covers will also be removed from the washing facilities. Plastic-containing single-use sauna seat covers have been estimated to generate even 25 tons of waste every year in a swimming hall the size of the Kuntolaakso one so giving them up is a real pro-environment act. Customers are recommended to bring their own seat covers with them. The single-use sauna seat covers and washable seat covers can also be bought at the swimming hall box office.

Text: Henna Lindroos & Maiju Korhonen  

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