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Commercial Case Study

Raging River Waterpark: Refurbish or Rebuild?

The Raging River Waterpark in Bismarck, ND faced a tough decision: Should they continue to invest in refurbishing their decade-old waterfall feature, or spend the money to rebuild it with updated materials?

The realistic rock waterfall feature on the north side of the Raging River Waterpark had stood as a focal point of the popular summer destination for over ten years. Measuring 60 feet long by 10 feet high, the waterfall cascaded over the realistic concrete rock surface to splash down into the Lazy River to the delight of park visitors.

The Problem

The structure was originally built using common construction practices in the industry: A hollow substructure of steel rebar was overlaid with burlap and sprayed with concrete that was then carved to achieve the natural look of stone. However, over time the intense aquatic environment of the park caused water to infiltrate the surface and the steel underneath started to rust.

This severely weakened the substructure and it began to buckle under the weight of the concrete surface. As the damage progressed over the years, repairing the facade became more difficult and required increasing amounts of materials, time and money.

Designing a New Structure

As a part of the Mandan Parks and Recreation 2018 capital improvements campaign, RADrock was engaged by Associated Pool Builders to rebuild the waterfall.

Working closely with the regionally acclaimed commercial pool construction company, RADrock provided artistic renderings of their designs and proposed a more modern process using expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam as a void fill to provide lasting integrity to the concrete shell.

A Stronger Substructure

In the end, the approved designs combined insulated concrete forms (ICF) and EPS foam to provide structural integrity and fill the major voids. Once in place, the EPS foam was shaped and covered with rebar, fiberglass lath and coated with a regular mortar mix for the rough base coat.

A fine mortar mix was then used to give a more refined surface to the sculpted finish coat. The sculpted feature was then sealed to provide an added layer of protection against the elements and stained to create the look of natural rock.

Progression & Outcome

Raging River Waterfall by RADrock Creations

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RADrock was thrilled to have the opportunity to rebuild the Raging River Waterpark waterfall from the ground up. However, we have also worked on many decorative concrete features that benefited immensely from performing minor repairs, some fresh paint or adding a new coat of sealant. If you have any questions about what’s best for your next decorative concrete rock project, give us a call!