Desert Oasis

The giant, vibrantly colored horny toad visually anchors the zero-depth-entry children’s pool and provides fun by spouting an intermittent stream of water while doubling as a children’s slide. A 170-foot-long waterslide mark the highlights, but amenities also include a 4,257-sq.-ft. leisure pool, current channel, body slide, raft slide, interactive play structure, various interactive play features, kiddie slide, water basketball, water volleyball, and 195-sq.-ft. whirlpool.

The choice of materials and theming reflect a Grand Canyon theme and recall other landscape features, flora and fauna found in the state. Murals of the landmark set the scene, along with desert colors in hues bright enough to engage children – those of red rock, bright oranges, sage greens, yellows and beiges. Cactus and agave images are used at the edges of the play structure, while netting material surrounding the waterslide mimics the scales of a desert snake.

Construction of the center took two years, during which time an existing facility needed to remain operational. To accomplish this, the team incorporated a “wrap concept,” whereby the new building was designed to wrap around the existing one. This created one problem: Because of setback requirements, the new building encroached on one side of an existing gymnasium. The team removed one end of the old gym and installed a temporary wall, which allowed programming to continue. This also reduced costs, by removing the need for a temporary facilitiy. With the new building complete, the old facility was demolished and the space used for entry drop-off and parking.

Say the designers: “As families in the South Mountain community face new uncertainties each day, The Salvation Army was focused on the fact that the new Kroc Center would provide hope and optimism to them all. It is a place where children find refuge from the violence on the streets or from a challenging home life, or simply a place to hang out with friends after school. This new community center... will continue to serve and fulfill the mission of The Salvation Army and build on the heritage of a place that has touched and changed lives for generations.”

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