Feature Article - January 2006
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Simple Splashes

Updating your aquatic facility and programming without going overboard

By Kelli Anderson

Making the transition

For facilities taking the one-feature-at-a-time approach, however, experts recommend that a slide be your first consideration. With designs that now include separate run-outs so existing pool space isn't compromised, aquatic facilities can include a popular feature that can be used without interrupting programming. For those wanting a slide that empties into the pool, a well-manufactured 20-foot model still can make a huge difference for a price tag that runs in the range of $100,000 to $150,000.

Having a two-pool design to reserve one pool for lessons and laps while having another pool dedicated to full-time recreation can be an ideal goal for those facilities wanting to transition to a best-of-all-worlds model. Uninterrupted programming coupled with full-time recreation also allows parties to rent out portions of aquatic space instead of the entire facility or permits rentals to be extended to more than post-program scheduling.

For aquatic facilities not yet able to expand to two pools, offering features like slides with separate run-outs or small, space-saving lap pools with swim-in-place products can still improve programming flexibility, increase recreational time and generate higher revenues.

Running a close second with slides for that wow-factor are splash play features, shade features and landscaping. Splash play features can provide recreation to the littlest users, making any aquatic space more family-friendly. Some splash play features can be derived from fountain designs doing double as eye-candy and play feature all in one.

Other popular elements that can be added over time to keep interest alive and well are floatable features, which tether to the floor of a shallow pool area and provide an interactive climbing surface for young swimmers. Sand boxes, spray features, wave pools, underwater bench seating for spectators, floatable walkways, leisure pools, lazy rivers, swirl slides, surfing features—you name it—will continue to add change and broaden your market as well as keep your facility riding a wave of community interest.