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Designing spray parks

Electricity

Is an electrical source readily available at the location in consideration? A minimum of 120 VAC is required to support a potable environment, but these requirements increase to 230 VAC single phase when water treatment/recirculation systems enter the picture. In addition, a qualified electrician will need to be onsite for the installation stage of the project. Ensure this is taken into consideration when creating the budget.

Drainage

One of the key benefits of a spray park is they are most commonly designed with no standing water. This makes it a safe and fun environment for kids of all ages and abilities; it also generally eliminates the need for a lifeguard. In order to accomplish this, drainage must be planned in the early stages of the project to prevent water from pooling and eliminate unsafe conditions. If the features are being added into a pool or beach-entry facility, lifeguards will be required in the same fashion as a pool.

Location and material selection

Not all spray parks are created equal. It is important to consider the facility’s location before evaluating the different suppliers and options, which best meet the project’s unique requirements. Is the environment supervised or unsupervised? Is it a public park located in an area highly susceptible to vandalism? Is it indoors or outdoors?

The answers to these questions will help determine the materials that should be considered when selecting the features. For example, if the facility is located outdoors, near the ocean, in an unsupervised public park, design materials such as stainless steel with a superior paint should be considered as it will withstand vandalism, provide superior UV protection and resist corrosion.

Choosing the right equipment could mean the difference between a successful spray park and a maintenance nightmare. It will also directly influence the amount needed to budget for features. Less durable materials generally come with a lower price tag and a shorter warranty than their more durable counterparts.

Surfacing

While there are many options available for surfacing a spray park, local health codes, American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, budget, ongoing maintenance, durability and longevity should be considered when making a selection. The surface of the spray park should be nonporous and non-slip to bacteria buildup and injuries.

Known for its low cost, excellent traction and minimal upkeep, broom finished concrete has been the recommended standard by designers and suppliers all over the world. However, new advances in surfacing options have led to the emergence of brighter colours and unique designs. These can be useful in enhancing the look and theme of a spray park, but they come at a higher price and may not provide the same longevity as a concrete surface.

Stamping, acid etching and colouring can enhance a concrete surface at a more reasonable cost. Keep the project’s budget in mind when evaluating surface options. All too often, projects fall flat because decisions were made to spend precious budget dollars on items, which enhance the esthetics of the attraction, but contribute nothing to the play value. Remember, this is what will keep visitors coming back to the park.

Site amenities

In creating a destination, additional amenities may need to be incorporated into the facility. Local health authorities may require a washroom or shower facility to be available. In addition to this, many parents request seating outside of the spray zone that provides good visibility of the spray park. It is also a good idea to consider adding shade structures over part of the facility and seating areas to offer sun protection on hot days. There may also be opportunities to include revenue generating concessions and activities around the area when building a new facility or when trying to improve revenue generation in an existing facility.

Early on in the planning stages, spray park designers and builders should carefully evaluate the potential site and investigate any external factors that could influence the success of the project. In doing this, the designer/builder will be better prepared to create a budget estimate.

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