Weather slows construction; waterpark to open in spring

PHOTO/Journal File
Developers of H2Oasis, a South Anchorage indoor water park, are continuing construction despite delays and now aim to open in spring.

The company expects to enclose the building this month, said Dennis Prendeville, president of Alaska Waterpark Co. Inc. At press time in mid-December about 70 percent of the structure was enclosed, he said.

Project developer Alaska Waterpark is serving as general contractor with help from Marlow General Contractors Inc. of Anchorage.

Cold weather slowed some exterior work, and other delays have slowed the project, Prendeville said.

"Everything seems to take longer than expected," he said.

Work on a major feature of the attraction, the wave pool, is more than half finished. Most of the special equipment is at the construction site, including slides and a pirate ship, although some pumps have not arrived yet, Prendeville said.

Other significant project milestones include pouring about 600 yards of a total of 2,000 yards of concrete. Once electrical and other systems are installed, the final concrete section for the pool deck will be poured just before the project is finished, he said.

Financing for the estimated $6.25 million to $7 million indoor water park originates from local investors and KeyBank, Prendeville said. The project developer continues work on the financing equation.

"We’re still tuning up financing with more equity dollars," he said.

Prendeville started planning H2Oasis about five years ago. Site preparation began at the corner of O’Malley Road and the New Seward Highway in March 1999. Once Prendeville retired from Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. in May 1999, he stepped up efforts on the project.

Prendeville earned a electrical engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a master’s degree in engineering management. Other owners of the project also are engineers, he said.

Some construction is being handled by crews based in Florida and Texas who specialize in building water parks, he said.

Once completed H2Oasis will employ about 25 full-time staff members with several part-time employees, although operators will determine the exact number once they open, he said.

Prendeville believes nearing enclosure of the structure marks a major milestone for the project.

"What we’ve done is the impossible," he said. "There are many aspects to the whole thing. It’s a complex project, but it’s not rocket science."

12/23/2001 - 8:00pm