From pirate ships to a splash-filled baseball field to fighter jets that spray and light up, Genco Pools & Spas has worked on every type of splash pad, water park and aquatic center imaginable.
Rusty Sabo, a project manager for Genco, says the company has been heading up water park projects for more than a decade and recently completed the Gully Washer in Newberry, South Carolina, which includes two slides, dumping buckets, sprayers and even water cannons that look like ESPN cameras.
“We do installation mostly, though I did some design work on this one,” he says. “We work for hotels, cities, the government — we recently did one for the Air Force base.”
Doug Smith, construction manager for Genco, says the splash pad at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina, offers a great example of the creativity and attention to detail that splash pads showcase.
“It includes special F-15s with lights that make it look like the jets have fire coming out of the bottom,” he says. “That was to honor a five-star general on the base. That splash pad has about 15 different features.”
For the Newberry Gully Washer project, the city went with a sports theme to fit in with a surrounding recreation complex. Interactivity is built in, including two elephants that talk to kids with catch phrases such as “Batter up!”
Many of the splash pad projects Genco works on are in partnership with Ohio-based Rain Drop Products, which creates water play features. “They’ve been an incredible partner to work with all these years,” says Eric Zelman of Rain Drop. “We run the gamut of different types of projects, and they are capable of full turnkey projects, installation — I always feel confident in their ability.”
Genco’s Expertise Makes a Splash
Genco builds everything from backyard getaways to water parks to spacious resort-style hotel projects and rooftop pools. The company has long worked on projects along the coast, and it recently acquired Sunco, a pool and spa company that has been operating in the Myrtle Beach area for more than 30 years.
The combined expertise allows Genco employees to take on any pool-related project, heading up schematics, plumbing, holding tanks, recirculation and every type of technical detail.
Often, splash pads and water parks tell a story related to a business or geographic area. Though some, like Gully Washer, are designed with kids in mind, other projects, like the High Hampton in North Carolina, are meant to appeal to adults. “This one is a pool and spa combination at a resort in Cashiers,” Sabo says. “We work with a lot of hotels, including Holiday Inn and Marriott.”
Smith says Genco is about to begin work on a Hilton Head project, renovating a pool, reworking the decking and removing the kiddie pool to create a splash pad instead. “Lots of people want to take out the kiddie pool, eliminate the water and create a zero-entry with water features,” he says.
In the municipal market, a key trend in the field is inclusiveness and accessibility, Zelman adds, allowing all children to enjoy playing at water parks. For example, if he’s building a splash pad with Genco, they may add truncated bumps around the perimeter so visually impaired children can feel where they are, or the design might include a tranquil area designed for kids with sensory issues.
While COVID-19 is affecting water park attendance nationwide this summer, Zelman, Sabo and Smith say numerous projects are at various stages in the pipeline, and they expect interest in splash pads to return stronger than ever. The team at Genco will continue bringing the creativity, expertise and commitment to customer service that help their clients make a splash.