Vita builds state-of-the-art sports complex in Middelkerke dunes

Vita Krokodiel

Along the coastline in Middelkerke, an old sports park has been transformed into an innovative sports complex that flawlessly blends into the surrounding dune landscape. The brand-new complex offers relaxation for young and old. You will find a 25-metre pool, instruction pool, recreational area with tube slide and even a wellness area with saunas and steam rooms. Furthermore, the complex also offers a large multifunctional sports hall, spinning area and a cosy cafeteria.

To realise the project on an area of 6,000 m², the municipality called on Vita Groep, developer of swimming pools and sports infrastructure comprising four partners: contractor Cordeel, Slangen+Koenis Architecten, swimming pool specialist Hellebrekers and operator Farys. "We work according to the DBFMO formula," says Maarten Bauwens, Head of Operations at Vita Group. "That stands for Design, Build, Finance, Maintenance and Operation. It means we keep everything in our own hands: from design to operation and maintenance."

Innovative installations

The pool tells its own story, with a crocodile as its signboard. For instance, the 12.5-metre by 8-metre instruction pool features a moveable bottom that can sink 3 metres deep. For small children, the depth can be limited to 5 centimetres. Vita Groep launched a novelty in Middelkerke. Above the pool hangs a corrosion-resistant projector that can project figures in the water. "This allows us to let the children play tag with fish between the fountains. Unique, because there was nothing like that on the market yet," says Maarten Bauwens.

Sports swimmers also get their money's worth in a homologated competition pool measuring 25 by 16 metres with six competition lanes. Two lanes have a moveable floor so that aqua aerobics, for example, can also be organised. A grandstand for 120 supporters is also provided.

The large sports hall next to the pool was built 4 metres underground. This has advantages not only for the landscape but also for the athletes: there is no irradiation of sunlight, so visibility is not obstructed. There is also a ventilation system with a 'badminton mode' that causes less air movement.

The green roof was fitted with a heat pump and 680 photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. In addition, the roof buffers rainwater that is used to flush the toilets.

Official opening

VITA Krokodiel was officially opened on 20 December 2021 in the presence of Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker and Alderman for Sport Henk Dierendonck. In the presence of the invited guests, the very first visitors and winners of the colouring contest took the first refreshing dip in the pool.

‘Published in Bouwen aan Vlaanderen edition 2-2022’

Project properties

Project name
Vita Krokodiel
Gemeente Middelkerke
6000.00 m²
Slangen + Koenis BV
Hellebrekers Technieken BV
Type of contract
DBFMO (Design - Build - Finance - Maintain - Operate)