The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 11, 2014

Former C-D student helping develop floating pool in NYC

ENID, Okla. — Plans for a floating swimming pool in New York City’s East River are progressing, and one former local man is assisting with the architectural side of the concept.

Wesley LeForce, who attended Covington-Douglas High School, is an architect with Family Architecture in New York — a partner in the pool initiative.

“It was a self-initiated project to see if they could both swim in the river that hardly anyone swims in, and then also clean it at the same time,” LeForce said.

Dong-Ping Wong, owner of Family Architecture, partnered with PlayLab owners Archie Lee Coates IV and Jeffrey Franklin on the project, LeForce said.

He said the pool, named the Plus Pool, will be two Olympic-size pools put together in the shape of a plus sign. Each wing of the pool will have a different use — including a children’s pool, a lounge pool and a lap pool.

At least one bridge would make the pool accessible from land, LeForce said.

On the wall of the pool will be different types of filtration systems that would, without chemicals, filter the river water to make it safe enough for swimmers, he said.

“The majority of the time, the river is swimmable,” LeForce said. “Once it rains, the sewers release, so it doesn’t back up into the city, and then it releases into the river — which obviously makes it very dangerous to swim in.”

The pool still is in the funding and research phase.

LeForce said the concept has been on the fundraising site,, twice. The first time, the fundraising goal was $25,000, but the concept drew $41,000 in donations. The second time on the site, a $250,000 fundraising goal was met.

The funds were used for research and development and design of the pool.

“So far, the reception from the city has been good. We haven’t really asked for city money or anything, so there hasn’t been any reason to say no,” LeForce said. “The biggest concern right now is the Department of Health, just to make sure that it’s still safe once you get people in the pool — since you’re not using chemicals like chlorine to automatically kill germs that people bring into the pool. But, we’re working through that and there are ways around that.”

LeForce, an Oklahoma State University graduate, moved to New York in 2011.

“This was my first job, filtering river water with different filtration systems and then testing that to see how they reacted,” he said. “That was the first round of filtration research.”

He said he worked through the summer and fall of 2011 and off and on through the next year. In August 2013, he returned full time and has been assisting with the design development phase of the pool and the re-testing of different filtration to see how it works with the river water.

LeForce said the concept is not a very traditional architectural project.

“There are, surprisingly, a number of similarities between the two. And, it’s also interesting because it is self-initiated, there’s no client,” he said. “Since all of the funding has come from public interest, that makes it pretty unique. It’s kind of like, if the public wants it, then they can get it, and if not, then it turns out to not be a good project.”

The swimming pool is expected to cost roughly $15 million, LeForce said.

He said the idea is for the pool to be partially owned by the city.

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