The river community of Wisconsin Rapids is interconnected by a series of bridges that link the eastern and western banks. The riverfront is home to several recreational parks and commerce. As a town of nearly 20,000 people, the Wisconsin Rapids Park District saw the need to provide residents an aquatic facility to replace the city’s Mead Pool, which closed in 2015. In 2020, the brand-new Wisconsin Rapids Recreation and Aquatic Park opened to the public.
Much like the town itself, the aquatic park has rivers and bodies of water that separate land masses. The $12 million dollar facility features three pools. The 2,500 sq. ft. “tot” pool has exciting activities, including two water slides, spray features, and a toddler lazy river. The 7,600 sq. ft. leisure pool includes a play area, water walk, lazy river with a “rapids” action channel, a tube water slide with plunge pool, and a body water slide. The recreation pool features lap swimming, a zip line feature, diving board, and a climbing wall. During winter months, the drop circle converts into a large ice-skating circle, while a separate area will host low board hockey.
Tying the region’s natural beauty into the park, the design team integrated naturalistic rockwork within the pools and along the lazy rivers. The rockwork was artistically carved and painted to match the indigenous rock found in and along the Wisconsin River. The themed shotcrete rockwork is an aesthetic enhancement but also breaks up the linear profile of the pool and decking, delivering a more organic feel. Planter pockets were developed within the rock to allow for greenery within the hardscape.
COST was hired by Miron Construction, the project’s general contractor, to develop shop drawings, provide structural engineering, build scale models, fabricate steel, and provide on-site construction of the shotcrete rockwork and waterfalls. The project was designed by Beaver Dam-based Water Technology Inc.
The Wisconsin Rapids Recreation and Aquatic Park was recognized in the 2021 Athletic Business Magazine’s Aquatic Design Portfolio.
*Photo Courtesy of City of Wisconsin Rapids/Parks and Recreation.