Supplement Feature - February 2008
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Water, Water Everywhere

Aquatic Center Design Gets Creative

By Hayli Morrison

Remember traditional swimming pools? It was once adequate to have a diving board, steps and ladders for entry, shallow and deep ends and a narrow concrete slab with some chairs for sunbathers. These pools are relatively easy to construct and maintain, and were once able to compete quite well in the water recreation industry. However, with the exception of the diving board, which is making a comeback, pool designers say most of the classic swimming pool features have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Modern poolgoers expect amped-up entertainment. The latest trends draw from waterpark concepts like lazy rivers, tipping buckets, water playgrounds and an impressive array of waterslides. Recreation facility managers have discovered that anything less will draw a fairly small crowd.

Greeley, Colo., is one city rising to the occasion. The mountain town restructured two of its three old-fashioned rectangular pools in 2006. As a result, the highly active residents of Greeley and the surrounding area can now enjoy two "wet playgrounds" with lazy rivers and slides, a fenced-in splash playground and a lap pool for competitive swimmers.

The city's newest offering is Discovery Bay, a wet playground that resembles an archeological dig site. A full-scale dinosaur skeleton is the focal point, along with a 200-gallon tipping bucket shaped like a dinosaur egg. Demands from the community acted as catalyst for the city's highly innovative water projects like Discovery Bay and its indoor counterpart, Adventure Island. The projects are in keeping with the latest trend of interactive play and entertainment value, concepts that translate into profit, according to Phil Moya, recreation program manager for the City of Greeley Leisure Services Department.