Shepherding our Dream Designs issue every year is really an honor and a joy.
Each time, I’m reminded that every aquatics facility, no matter what type, has a great story to tell. For the Parmele Park Splashpad in Moore, Okla., the story begins with a devastating tornado in 2012. As part of the rebuilding process, city officials decided to erect a new splashpad. This would meet two goals: helping the town recover and providing amenities to the underserved. A year after taking that hit from Mother Nature, the city held the grand opening for its beautiful new amenity.
But that’s not the whole story. To help build excitement and engagement in the space, the design team sought input from local children, presenting students of a nearby elementary school with a selection of themes and asking them to vote. As you’ll see, they chose wisely.
It also seems that for each edition of Dream Designs, a trend reveals itself in action. The Moore, Okla., installation joined two other stand-alone sprayparks and splashpads, the most featured in this gallery. Designers report that these facilities are becoming more popular for their obvious fun as well as cost savings and water efficiency. This can be seen not only in sanctioned park areas, but also in business settings such as malls.
But they’re even better when paired with swimming pools, which benefit from the enhancement. Several of the following facilities boasted some mix of a wet deck or very shallow water with interactive spray features. They can either be incorporated into the pool or placed nearby.
One of our honorees, Josh Martin, president of Orlando-based Aquatic Design & Engineering, explained: “These features are differentiating amenities for many projects. While someone might have a pool in their backyard, very few residential pools also offer large, climbable wet play structures with slides and a variety of sprays.” His team’s installation at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld demonstrates the appeal.
When I inquired, some companies said sprayparks were included in more than half the projects on their boards.
But for each facility in this year’s showcase, no matter the category, you can see the design team’s belief and hope that their aquatic creations will enhance the lives of those who use them, whether by providing the safety of knowing how to swim, the confidence from a competition well done, or simply opportunities to connect with other people. The mission of bringing this joy to as many as possible is clear.
Such hope and integrity mixed with such high levels of talent is something to be admired. I hope that looking through these pages helps fuel the passion all of our readers feel for what they do. Enjoy the issue.