As the economy bounces back, it appears that new aquatic projects are likely to show up in some relatively unexpected places.
Experts say senior communities, American Indian reservations, and
family entertainment centers are three areas with aquatic
potential, each for different reasons.
The oldest of the baby boomers now are 65, and swimming pool
builders across the country are finding revenue in assisted living
facilities and retirement communities
As noted in Pool & Spa News, sister publication to
Aquatics International, these projects run the gamut from
simple to elaborate, including pools and hot tubs. They are
providing needed income for a number of residential pool
builders caught in the economic downturn.
“I do see those types of projects coming up more
often,” Tim Van Kirk told Pool & Spa News. He is
co-owner of Van Kirk & Sons, based in Deerfield Beach,
“What you’re getting is a lot of these retirees who
want to replicate the lifestyle and the quality of life
they’re leaving behind when they move into these facilities.
So I do expect those to increase in the next few years,” Van
Many nursing facilities also are being updated to include aquatics.
Billy Faught, project manager at Robertson Commercial Pools in
Coppell, Texas, told Pool & Spa News that his firm has
built several fitness/therapy-type pools for assisted-living
facilities in the past three years.
These vessels are typically around 1,000 to 1,500 square feet in
length, with multiple lanes for laps and space for water aerobics,
he noted. They also often include ramps and additional stainless
steel handrails, as well as ADA-compliant lifts for
“… It’s definitely a key market out there right
now,” he said.
Native American communities also are looking to aquatics. The
Soaring Eagle Hotel and Waterpark Resort is set to open this spring
and, if it proves successful, it is expected to become a model for
similar projects nationwide, said Nick Schoenfeldt, project manager
and vice president at Thalden•Boyd•Emery
Plans for the Soaring Eagle Hotel and Waterpark Resort first came
about in 2009. Executives at Migizi, the nongaming business
development arm of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, determined
that they needed to develop projects that would foster longer and
more frequent trips to their existing Soaring Eagle Casino &
Resort, a four-star property in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
The Soaring Eagle Hotel and Waterpark Resort is a more affordable,
family-friendly option that also will include shuttle service to
the main resort. The new property, including the waterpark, is
being designed to represent the art, tradition and history of the
tribe. The waterpark will include two major water slides, a
children’s area, a lazy river and a stationary surfing wave
“Most Native American land is remote,” Schoenfeldt
said. “So anything that we can do to get people to come and
stay longer and enjoy the amenities is of interest. It gets back to
broadening the base of appeal.”
Family Entertainment Centers have been adding aquatic amenities for
some time, and that is likely to continue on a large and
small scale, say experts. Amusement Entertainment Management, East
Brunswick, N.J., has been adding water attractions to indoor and
outdoor FEC projects, and that includes play structures, spraypads
and slides, as well as water tables, said Frank Seninsky, AEM
Mulligan Family Fun Center in Murrieta, Calif., opened a large
aquatic play structure that includes slides, interactive features
and a dumping bucket last year. Mulligan Waterworks has been very
successful so far, said Mike Manassee, director of training
“It has expanded our season and allowed us to attract some
new people,” he said.
Dan Schechner contributed to this story.