News and Events - "All News and Events"

Welcome to our newsroom! Here you will find the latest information about our company, projects and people. Browse articles published by our engineers and scientists in national publications and conference proceedings, view our press releases and read through news coverage of Terracon.

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From the Ground Up: Aquatic Design and Swimming Pool Engineering

Swimming pool constructionWhen you think of swimming pool design, the first image that might come to mind could be a large pool of crystal clear water. Before putting the first shovel in the ground, many factors need to be addressed for aquatic facilities. The programming and planning of aquatic facilities for both recreational and competitive use include collaborating with clients and the design team to create a plan that enhances and optimizes their vision and goals and site conditions.

“For the majority of aquatic facilities, project planning for environmental, facility, geotechnical, and material factors is critical,” says Matt Reynolds, Department Manager of Aquatics for Terracon in Concord, CA. “By assisting our clients in evaluating sites and identifying goals and objectives, we create a strategy to design new aquatic facilities or renovate existing aquatic facilities, optimizing end-user benefits.”

Indoor or outdoor – it mattersWhen it comes to evaluating property conditions for swimming pools, located either in a natatorium or outdoors, review is necessary of the pool and building’s mechanical and chemical treatment systems, the building envelope, foundations, roofs, finishes, air quality, applicable governing codes, and ADA Accessibility Guidelines. The Terracon Aquatics team can meet the client’s desired project delivery approach by identifying the most cost-effective mechanical, electrical, and plumbing functions.


The importance of environment

Many existing indoor natatorium facilities have poor air quality and moisture migration. To better plan for project needs, it is often necessary to conduct environmental studies to determine indoor air quality and assess whether asbestos or lead exist, as well as mold due to the moisture driven through the building envelope. Once these factors are identified, a remediation plan is developed and followed through with quality control ensuring any removal work is done correctly. 

Minimizing risk

Aquatic projects have the potential to pose interesting challenges. A unique one is known as a “floating shell.” This occurs when hydrostatic pressure below the pool floor is so significant that when a pool is empty, it pushes the shell upward, creating large cracks, leaks and destroying pool piping. This can be prevented with a thorough geotechnical study which provides structural engineers with the best information to minimize foundation design issues while meeting applicable building codes and standards.  Additionally, Terracon’s design standard for swimming pool engineering provides hydrostatic relief valves in each main drain sump and a sight sump to allow pool operators to view the ground water level with respect to the bottom of the pool prior to draining the pool.

What it’s made of matters

An aquatic project schedule should account for materials testing. Swimming pool shells are typically constructed of reinforced concrete and require rebar inspection, concrete placement inspection, and test panel materials testing.  The pool shell is designed to be watertight without any finishes applied, and Terracon can provide water tightness testing services.  For existing pool shells that have moved, cracked, or are leaking, a forensic evaluation of the existing concrete may be required. Consulting and design for remediation of concrete and compatible waterproofing membranes and finishes is often needed to provide clients with the most reliable renovation to maximize facility longevity.

Matt’s advice on creating a successful aquatic project? Work with a trusted partner to help navigate the unique challenges an aquatic project can pose. “Whether clients are looking to develop or renovate an Olympic-size pool, or the local community pool, we work with clients to educate them on the new trends in recreation swimming and provide knowledge in the requirements for competitive sports. These include the various governing bodies for competitive swimming, water polo, diving, and synchronized swimming. We offer extensive in-house experience to be your partner for aquatic facility evaluation, renovation, replacement, and new construction.”

Our services include:

  • Aquatic facility programming
  • Aquatic concepts and design
  • Mechanical and sanitization system design
  • Swimming pool engineering (pool shell design)
  • Existing facility evaluation
  • Renovation and rehabilitation
  • Distress facility investigations and analysis

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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign CCE 495 Seminar

February 22, 2017
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

9:30 am – 3:30 pm
Champaign, IL

Brian Porter, St Louis Office Manager; Victor Donald, Geotechnical Service Line Director; Paul Tarvin, Geotechnical Department Manager Wisconsin; and Theresa Bridges, Senior Recruiter will be on site to discuss opportunities in geotechnical engineering. Click here to learn more about Terracon career opportunities.

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Terracon Announces Robert Pavlicek as Manager for its Eastern Operating Group

RALEIGH, N.C. — Terracon, a leading provider of environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services, is pleased to name Robert (Bob) Pavlicek, P.E., as manager for its Eastern Operating Group which spans from Maine to Florida and from Louisiana to the East Coast.

He joined Terracon in 1988 as a materials technician, and has since served as staff engineer, senior geotechnical engineer, geotechnical department manager, regional manager, and division manager. With almost 30 years of experience with Terracon, Pavlicek brings a strong knowledge of operations and delivering results by growing a team of successful leaders.

“I am honored and excited to take on this role and looking forward to leading the continued safety, growth, and profitability of the Eastern Operating Group,” Pavlicek said.

Pavlicek recently served as assistant operating group manager for Terracon’s Eastern Operating Group and interim division manager for its Northeast Division. He holds a master of science degree in geotechnical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin, and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from The University of Iowa. Pavlicek is licensed as a professional engineer in four states.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 3,500 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 130 offices with services available in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 32nd on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, please visit

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38th Annual Conference on School Facilities

February 20-22, 2017
Sacramento Convention Center
Sacramento, CA

Visit us at booth#614!

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University of Texas at Austin Career Fair

February 22, 2017
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

Visit our career fair booth to meet our team and learn more about Terracon career opportunities.

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University of Oregon Career Fair

February 23, 2017
University of Oregon

11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Eugene, OR

Andy Weber, Senior Consultant Concord, Cal. and Chris Laswell, Field Facilities Engineer will be on site. Visit our career fair booth to meet our team and learn more about Terracon career opportunities.

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Minnesota Transportation Conference

March 1-2, 2017
Saint Paul RiverCentre
St. Paul, MN

Come see us at booth #33. For more information, visit the conference website here.

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Sound Transit University

March 16, 2017
Downtown Room, 625 Union Station
Seattle, WA

For more information, visit the website here.

Jim Schmidt, P.E., P.Eng, D.GE will be presenting, “Quality Control Testing of Drilled Shafts Through Thermal Integrity Profiling”

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32nd RCI International Convention and Trade Show

March 16 – 21, 2017
Hilton Anaheim
Anaheim, CA

For more information, visit the website here.

Matt McElvogue, P.E. and Jerry Abendroth, RRC, RWC will be presenting

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DBIA: Design-Build in Transportation

March 27-29, 2017
Minneapolis, MN

For more information, visit the website here.