When Great Wolf Lodge, a chain of indoor family waterparks, opened their first resorts, they used stamped concrete for most of their surfaces including entryways, kids play areas, and pool decks. However, when planning for future resorts, they wanted to explore other options for flooring, as installing stamped concrete for these indoor waterpark surfaces posed some challenges—one of them being getting the elevation right for drainage.Get a free quote
As they began the planning process for their Anaheim location, the architect on the Great Wolf Lodge project, Ginsler—an integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm—reached out to SUNDEK.
Don Snider, SUNDEK’s President and CEO, and Jason Unruh, SUNDEK’s Commercial Decorative Concrete Specialist began conversations with Gensler, showing samples that displayed some of the possibilities SUNDEK could offer. “They found we could do more than what they were expecting as far as patterns and textures go,” says Snider.
Since that initial meeting more than a decade ago, SUNDEK has used SunStamp to create beautiful, safe, and easy-to-clean surfaces at four Great Wolf Lodge locations around the country: in Scottsdale, Arizona; Atlanta, Georgia; Williamsburg, Virginia; Perryville, Maryland, and Anaheim, California.
SunStamp is a stamped concrete overlay that can be customized with a variety of colors and textures and can be scored in essentially any pattern. Its durability makes it ideal for locations that experience a lot of foot traffic, such as waterparks that host thousands of visitors every year. For the Great Wolf locations, SUNDEK textures the coating to make it slip resistant—a necessity for a surface meant for people with wet feet to walk on.
SUNDEK and Turner Construction, the general contractor on all Great Wolf Lodge projects, have worked closely for years, and the two entities are now at a point where working together is a smooth process. When SUNDEK first began doing work with Great Wolf Lodge, they were asked to install coatings in phases. SUNDEK installers would come in and do one section, a walkway, for example, then come back later to do the pool deck, and so on.
Since then, SUNDEK and Turner Construction have worked together to make the process much more efficient. Instead of completing each part piecemeal, SUNDEK comes in after everything else is done—putting greens, kid zones, etc.—and install their coatings at that point. “Doing it all at one time is more straightforward and saves them money, too,” says Snider.
Great Wolf Lodge consistently has SUNDEK use SunStamp for all their projects, and they choose from a designated color scheme throughout their various park locations. SUNDEK mixes the integral colors with the stamp mix, applies the product with the desired texture—flagstone, slate, or “random rock,” as Great Wolf refers to it—then adds a release agent to give it a mottled look.
Though the design of the surfaces is generally the same, there are times when Ginsler collaborates with SUNDEK to try something new. At one of the sites, for example, SUNDEK stamped wolf paw prints to indicate a path for kids to follow. For the location in Perryville, the architect requested the look of hardwood floors for an outside eating area.
In an effort to simplify maintenance, SUNDEK modified the depth of the texture of the surface to find the sweet spot for the resorts: a surface that’s easy for Great Wolf Lodge maintenance staff to clean while also maintaining the important safety element of being slip resistant.
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So far, all SUNDEK’s work with Great Wolf Lodge has been on their indoor waterpark spaces, but soon they will be branching out to install coatings on outdoor surfaces as well. In addition to the surface of an outdoor eating space that will be designed to look like hardwood floors, SUNDEK will install the surface of a porte-cochère at a future location.
Along with providing a quality deliverable, Unruh notes that SUNDEK strives to make the projects as smooth as possible for all parties involved, streamlining the process every step of the way. That comes naturally after more than 10 years working with Great Wolf Lodge and decades of working with other commercial developers. Unruh kicks things off by completing the bid portion of the project, and then other members of the SUNDEK team assist with their respective areas of expertise.
“We definitely have the right people in the right positions here,” says Unruh, referring to Michael Mercado, National Project Manager, who specifies an onsite project manager for every new Great Wolf project and Director of Commercial Sales Deidre Dann.
In the years ahead, SUNDEK looks forward to working on two more Great Wolf Lodge sites that are already underway. Two more, which SUNDEK has been specked for, are in the design phases.
Unruh notes that while groundwork has been laid with Great Wolf Lodge, he still checks in to see if there’s anything SUNDEK can do to improve the process, make things more efficient, or enhance the final product. And representatives from the resort know they can call if they need anything. As Unruh puts it, “we have all the resources they need under one building.”
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