Feature Article - November 2005
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Handy Solutions to Common Problems

By Stacy St. Clair, Jenny E. Beeh and Kelli Anderson

How To Enhance the Guest Experience

Racing down a water slide and splashing around at a waterpark—things everyone wants to do outdoors. However, a change in weather (be it a drop in temperature, a rainstorm or a cool breeze) can make even the hardiest swimmers pack their swim fins and go home. To retain patrons, many owners will build an indoor facility in addition to their outdoor pool. Unfortunately, this often takes the form of a brick box with a dark, damp environment.

Is this what your guests demand? Granted, it gives them an outdoor facility during warm weather, but they have to give up the fresh air and natural light—those things they seek—when they are forced inside. Your guests want the best of both worlds, outdoor recreation during the warm summer months but protection from the elements during times of inclement weather. How do you do this without having to build separate facilities?

Pool enclosures with retractable roofs bring the outdoor experience inside. Even more importantly, they can provide a year-round revenue stream.


Today's technology permits this indoor/outdoor phenomenon to exist in one structure. For example, aluminum-framed, all-glazed enclosures are capable of freespaning 150 feet, with retractable roof panels up to 35 feet long. An insulated polycarbonate or glass roof and insulated glass sides and ends allow guests to be bathed in natural light, while fresh breezes can be let in via large, rack-and-pinion, direct-drive retractable-roof panels opening about half of the roof and doors along the sidewalls.

Typical structures may take the shape of a freestanding double slope or lean-to enclosure, or a skylight supported by conventional construction. The roof can be curved, or dormers can be used to accommodate slide towers.


With the roof and sides open during the summer, the pool or waterpark becomes an outdoor facility. What this means for the owner is saving the cost of air conditioning, running a dehumidification system and even turning on the lights. During the winter months with the roof and sides closed, a complete thermally broken aluminum framing system and glazed envelope allow the guests to experience the warmth of the solar gain—and the facility the resultant energy savings by having to supply less heat to the enclosure. Some tests have shown a difference between inside and outside temperatures as high as 30 degrees on a sunny day without any supplemental heat.


Patrons, without question, can benefit from the natural light provided by retractable roofs. Researchers believe natural light helps enhance moods and combats depression. It also increases production levels and boosts energy.

Natural light can be a boon for your facility, as well. It bolsters the building's appearance by making spaces look bigger and rendering colors true.

  F O R   M O R E   I N F O R M A T I O N  

OpenAire Inc. 800-267-4877

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