Located two hours north of Des Moines, Iowa, Fort Dodge is a vibrant community surrounded by recreational amenities including parks, rivers, trails, lakes and golf courses. When city leaders wanted a new cost-effective aquatics option, they decided to upgrade an old wading pool located in Oleson Park.

From the beginning innovation was part of this project in several ways. Old bathhouse and equipment areas were saved and reused and an existing concrete structure was repurposed as the new filter and chemical room for the spray ground. A surge tank, dry pump pit and backwash tank were constructed alongside the filter room and a single pressure sand filter provides particulate removal. Calcium hypochlorite and carbon dioxide are used for disinfection and pH control, respectively.

Additionally, integral concrete benches located along the spray ground perimeter give adults a comfortable, secure spot to watch their children. Also, a lightly raised edge around the perimeter helps contain windblown spray from leaving the spray ground and an under drain system helps maintain the spray ground stability by resisting frost heave and expansive soil impacts.

The spray ground layout itself includes three “pods.” The pods are tied together with a spiral graphic pattern that becomes a path to discover all the different sprays. Each area includes specific features for distinct age groups, thereby providing some separation between toddlers and more active children. ADA access is provided throughout the facility.

Instead of typical large reinforcing steel spaced 12 inches apart, the concrete spray ground base is made of smaller, more closely spaced reinforcing. This provides better crack control in the concrete, as evidenced by minimal cracking to date.

Overall, the project has been a successful feature for the community of Fort Dodge. It provides a free summer play feature for the entire community which is especially appreciated by less affluent residents.


Opened: 2009

Total Construction Cost: $584,000

Aquatic space: 2,660 square feet

Dream amenities: The spraypark is designed with stained concrete graphics, a non-slip concrete finish, multi-age group spray features, benches integrated in concrete spray design, security lighting, and a security fence


  • Dream Designer: Shive Hattery
  • Aquatic Designer: Water’s Edge Aquatic Design


  • Accu-Tab: Sanitization
  • CAT Controllers: Chemical controllers
  • Electrical Engineering & Equipment Co.: Lighting
  • Grate Technologies of Lawson Aquatics: Gutters • Paco Pumps: Pumps
  • Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics:Filters
  • Water Odyssey: Water-play equipment