Facility Profile - November 2006
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Rustic Waters

White Water Bay in Queensbury, N.Y., and Fort Rapids Water Park in Columbus, Ohio

By Donald A. Jaenicke

Riding the rapids range

In a similar project about 600 miles away in Columbus, Ohio, the new 60,000-square-foot Fort Rapids Water Park is based on a rustic Western theme and provides a four-season family destination for the entire Midwest region.

This new park also features a continuous sheet wave that allows guests to surf and bodyboard. Other similar features to the New York project include the Blackout Pass bowl ride, Cowboy Creek lazy river, scenic waterfalls, a four-story interactive water structure with 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, zero-depth toddler play area, 30-person hot tub, party rooms and more.

Like the roof at Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, the roof framing at Fort Rapids

provides a rustic effect, said architect Tom Hesse of John Poe Architects in Dayton, Ohio. The framing was selected for its aesthetic warmth, competitive cost and fast erection.

"[Glued laminated] construction is specified for the primary structure and also for the platform framing," Hesse said. "Two stain finishes are being used. A light stain on the deck maximizes light reflection from the indirect lighting system, and a darker stain accents the structure. Galvanized steel brackets are used to connect [glued laminated] members to further the rough, Western imagery."

With only eight interior supporting columns, open space for the water attractions is maximized, according to Gary Gray, the structural engineer on the project. "The structure is a completely self-supporting, space-frame design," he said.

The laminated timbers used in both projects are a renewable material, gathered from forests where millions of trees are planted annually. No large old-growth trees are needed in the fabrication of the beams.

Apparently, indoor water fun can come with a smaller environmental cost.


American Institute of Timber Construction:

Fort Rapids Waterpark:

Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Waterpark: