Renderings courtesy of SFS Architecture.
Since 2000, the community of Blue Springs, Missouri, has asked for an aquatics park with modern amenities like slides, lazy rivers, etc. Fast forward to November 3, 2022, and the city answered the call by breaking ground on Blue Surf Bay Waterpark.
Dennis Dovel, the director of Blue Springs Parks and Recreation, said his department was able to conduct an aquatics study by SFS Architecture in 2019-20. Through the study a conceptual design was developed considering the residents’ top desires. That was then included in a dedicated sales tax initiative for park improvements.
The tax was passed with an 80% yes vote on April 2021 and included deferred park maintenance of existing parks, the construction of a waterpark and new park in the southern boundaries of Blue Springs.
“To meet the needs of the community and provide residents with options to remain in the community to meet their recreational needs, it was important to provide a new indoor/outdoor aquatics center,” said Dovel. “This will also contribute to attracting new businesses and new residents into the community. It will add to the economic impact by attracting non-residents to Blue Springs who will purchase other items and support local businesses.”
Dovel said the city is currently without an outdoor pool or aquatics center due to the closing of a 40-year-old pool that was no longer cost-effective due to ongoing repairs. Additionally, attendance fell dramatically due to the facility not offering the amenities the public desired.
Now, Blue Surf Bay Waterpark will offer over 110,000 square feet of indoor and 60,000 square feet of outdoor area for patrons
The outdoor portion will have a 40-foot-tall slide tower with four different slide experiences including a tube slide that will twist its way into a plunge pool that flows into a 600-foot-long lazy river and a speed slide with a timing system.
“There is also a pool that will provide waves every 15 minutes for guests and a social pool attached offering basketball, volleyball and traditional swimming opportunities,” said Dovel. “The amenities don’t stop there, we have a zero-depth entry pool with a play structure for the little ones to enjoy the water, and while they are playing parents can relax on the sun shelf which offers lounge chairs in a few inches of water.”
However, for more adventurous guests, the Blue Surf Bay Waterpark will have a Murphy’s Air Dual Surf Simulator for boarding and standup surfing.
The indoor aquatic center will have a slide, splashpad for children, sauna for guests to utilize after workouts, whirlpool, lifestyle wellness pool with warm water and a four-lane, 25-yard cool water lap pool.
Dovel said the total cost for construction and architectural services is an estimated $41.5 million. The project is scheduled to be completed and opened in May 2024. The architect of record is SFS Architecture, and the construction manager is McCown Gordon Construction, both of Kansas City, Missouri.
Other entities that helped make the project a reality include Water Technology, Inc., Westport Pools, SplashTacular, Stantec and Ninjacross Systems — among others.
“Everyone is extremely excited and wishes it was not 18 months down the road,” said Dovel. “This has been a long-standing desire of the community for over 20 years, and we are privileged to be able to make this become a reality.”
Also, Dovel advised for other community rec centers to be in constant communication with residents, and to push the envelope on designs and plans that give community members more than they expect.
“Everyone said we wanted a new aquatics center, but never thought it would be like this,” said Dovel. “This is beyond what we thought. We are not trying to be better than anyone, just trying to be the best we can be while serving our community. Too many people settle for the ordinary. Try being extraordinary and see how the community responds.”
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