PSC Designs 3 New Aquatic Facilities Celebrating El Paso Culture and History
PSC was selected by the City of El Paso to design new aquatic facilities for City Districts 2, 4 and 7 in El Paso. These water parks are a part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond which defines the City of El Paso’s mission to provide more recreational opportunities and enhance the quality of life for residents.
“(The bond) is really a great program that the city has embarked on and an investment that we’re making in ourselves,” said Sam Rodriguez, city engineer for the City of El Paso.
The aquatic facilities were designed with a wide range of age groups in mind from toddlers to high school students and adults. Water park features will include water slides, a leisure pool, lap pools, a toddler pool, a bathhouse, cabanas, and a full-service kitchen and concession stand.
“This is long-awaited,” said Tracy Novak, parks and recreation director for the City of El Paso. “There’s been many community meetings that have lead up to this point and a lot of community interest in replacing the old 1960s-era pool that was here before with all the great new amenities. There’s’ been a lot of great anticipation, and I think there will be great acceptance when they see all the great new features they’ll get to use.”
Each park has similar aquatic features but will also incorporate distinct features that celebrate the culture of the local neighborhoods and the history of El Paso’s people. A feature play structure was designed to embody the themes. Mary Stills, project architect, said that a theming consultant was hired to collaborate on the details for each water park.
“These water parks will deliver an experience to the guest,” Mary said. “For example, the entries will have themed custom gates, unique art pieces, and varying materials to accompany the theme.”
“Camp Cohen” Water Park is an adventure-themed family aquatic facility that will be constructed in Northeast El Paso in District 4. The park is a part of the Reimagining Cohen effort to revitalize the Cohen area. The waterpark will feature camp-themed flags at the entry area, a speed slide, water obstacle courses, a themed slide tower and a themed play structure at the leisure pool.
The site for “Lost Paradise” is in District 2 in Central El Paso and will be located west of Ross Middle School. This park has a Mayan history theme. Some themed features include fire bowls at the main entry, sandblasted concrete Mayan calendar surrounded by stone columns, Mayan architectural elements on the building, slides that resemble snakes, and a family slide to name a few.
“I think the theming is super unique,” said Alexsandra Annello, city representative for District 2.” District 2 is some of the historic neighborhoods of El Paso. They have so much history. When you actually get to the root of who was here, who was on this land first, it really brings it full circle to the Mayans. It’s going to be so beautiful.”
“Chapoteo,” which means “splash” in Spanish, was designed with a fiesta theme for District 7. It will offer a unique experience based on celebrating the community culture of the Mission Valley. It will feature string lights, a Mexican fountain, sandblasted papel picado flags on the hardscape, custom signage, a bell tower and Mexican lantern light fixtures on the building for a fun fiesta ambiance.
“It’s probably one of my favorite themes, a fiesta theme,” said Claudia Ordaz-Perez, city representative for District 6 and mayor pro temp. “It couldn’t be a more perfect description of El Paso’s Mission Valley. It’s bright. It’s vibrant. It’s fun, and that’s going to be the depiction of where we’re standing today. That’s the Mission Valley. That encompasses the people and the culture that we have here in the valley.”
In addition to celebrating the culture of El Paso, these facilities will support the large population of swimmers and competitive swimmers in El Paso.
“There are community projects that typically focus on a specific age group,” Mary said. “However, these waterpark facilities are fantastic because they have amenities for all ages. Each waterpark will have a toddler pool, waterslides, a leisure pool with a current channel and a lap pool with climbing walls. There are opportunities for water classes, from ‘learn to swim’ to specialized training for competitive swimmers. Most importantly, these facilities will create an experience for families to have fun and create great memories together.”
These water parks are estimated to be completed in May 2020 in time for them to be enjoyed during Memorial Day weekend.
“I think Parkhill, Smith and Cooper has been very receptive to the challenges that we’ve put before them as it relates to taking the design a little bit further and really thinking outside of the box in terms of the entertainment aspect that we want to create,” Sam said. “This is not just a pool. It’s really thinking about the end product and how that’s going to be a great amenity to the community and how the community is going to engage with the physical element. Mary and her team have been very receptive and have collaborated very well with the city and the other consultants to be able to make that happen.”