When the Wet ‘n’ Wild family water park in North Shields, Tyne and Wear first opened in October 1993, it was the UK’s largest indoor water park boasting a number of pools and slides, including the Kamikaze, which featured an 80ft drop. But on October 14th last year, in its 20th year, the popular attraction closed as Wet ‘n’ Wild Enterprises Ltd entered administration with the firm’s 69 staff being made redundant.
Moirai Capital Investments acquired the water park in October 2013 and has appointed Serco Leisure to manage and operate it for a period of 25 years. Both Serco and Moirai Capital Investments have extensive experience in the UK leisure market: Serco manages 75 leisure centres including two national sports centres on behalf of Sport England and Moirai Capital Investments is a leading developer of sport, leisure and entertainment facilities.
Moirai Capital Investments has invested in excess of £1.1m to refurbish the water park and transform it into a modern family leisure attraction. The project has also brought a much needed employment boost to the area with a total of 56 new jobs including lifeguards, receptionists, cleaning staff and catering staff.
Over the past 10 years, FT Leisure Ltd has worked in partnership with Serco Leisure, servicing, maintaining and refurbishing all of their aquatic sites throughout the UK and Ireland. The founding members of FT Leisure were previously employed by Thermelek Engineering Services Ltd, who were responsible for the design and installation of the original facility, 21 years ago. FT Leisure therefore had good in-depth technical knowledge of the systems and was best placed to take on this project. Serco Leisure therefore appointed FT Leisure to enhance and refurbish the filtration and leisure water equipment, to bring it up to current design standards and to extend the life of the equipment.
The scope of works included the shot-blasting, relining and replacement media in the mild steel lined filtration vessels. All of the circulation and leisure water pumping systems were replaced. The wave machine was fully refurbished, along with all the grilles in the swimming pool. Finally, based on the age of the original installation, all of the system controls and electrics were replaced to current IEE regulations. One of the key requirements of the client’s brief was to achieve optimum energy efficiency with any equipment being replaced. All of the circulating and features pumping systems were therefore Grundfos high efficiency motors and variable speed drives.
The most challenging element of this refurbishment project was the programme. All of the above works had to be completed within eight weeks, to get the facility ready for the opening date to the public. The Wet ‘n’ Wild water park offers over 1 kilometre of slides including the Hurricane, the Kamikaze, the Abyss and Calamity Canyon.
The popular North Shields attraction’s refurbishment also features a new and improved reception entrance and shop; a new cafe and catering area; the former health suite has become an expansion of the Wet Changing Village to provide additional dedicated family changing facilities and showers; the former gym and dance studios has been converted into specially designed toddlers’ and younger children’s soft play and birthday party area – Discovery Play Island; and there is new, improved external signage around the water park.
The refurbished water park re-opened in August with lower admission costs than before the park closed.
FT Leisure Managing Director, Simon Whittingham said: “We are very pleased to have been associated with this prestigious project and that Wet ‘n’ Wild has benefited from significant investment and refurbishment to bring it back into use. Wet ‘n’ Wild was a very popular facility with residents and visitors alike and it’s great to see it open again. It’s also good news for the local community that the investment has created so many extra job opportunities and will have a significant positive impact. Whilst this project was challenging for everyone involved, it has further cemented our partnering relationship with Serco Leisure.”
FT Leisure specialises in the provision of innovative products and professional technical services to the commercial, municipal and private swimming pool industries. Its range of services includes the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and/or refurbishment and maintenance of water treatment and filtration systems, moveable floors, booms and disabled access platforms, ozone and UV sterilisation, wave machines and leisure water features.
Other recent FT Leisure projects include the Beswick Community Hub in Manchester, Witham Leisure Centre and AT7 Centre, Coventry.