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Shamu Happy Harbor

When the bids were in and the smoke cleared, we were the low bidder, but the project was $1 million over budget and in danger of not being built. With some innovative thinking from Friedrich Watkins Co. and the cooperation of Sea World and Geoff Meyer the Architect, we were able to Value Engineer the project to the desired budget and still maintain the quality of the show for the guests. By changing the lighting design, eliminating non-essential concrete areas, revising the storm drainage system, incorporating existing grades into the site plan and changing some of the material we were able to meet the desired budget without having to cut out any rides for the kids or cheapen the experience.

Once the dollars and scope were settled the real fun begins with the building of the facility. Because the adjacent play area would remain open during the construction of the new play area, Sea World didn't just want the run-of-the-mill plywood construction fence. A fully printed scrim and plywood fence was erected around the site with Jumping Shamu's and pictures of playing children as well as reminders of the other great shows to be seen in Sea World. Being right next door to Shamu Stadium, dust is a major factor to be dealt with during construction. Wind bourn particles of dust and dirt can cause respiratory problems and infections for the Killer Whales. A fully automatic sprinkler system that could be moved around the site easily to avoid construction activities while still keeping the site moist and dust free was imperative.

The next order of business was to place the foundations for the roller coaster and the load/unload platform. Layout is critical for roller coasters as the forces transmitted during a run are substantial and all of the parts are produced in Germany so changes in the field are difficult and costly. After translating the coaster shop drawings from German and Metric into English and Imperial the layouts were completed and the foundations poured with no need to reengineer anything.

A long with the roller coaster there are two other rides that required foundations, electrical power, sound, queue areas and an operator's station. The site also includes a Baby Care building with a full nursery, a small infirmary and examination rooms for the on-staff doctor in case of sickness or emergency. A new 2,500 sf maintenance building was built to serve the area and provide a place for the main electrical service

A full compliment of under ground utilities, storm water handling system, sanitary sewer, water supply and electrical power all snake their way around the site to serve all of the amenities. The water play area includes a Saf-Dek soft play surface along with an assortment of water squirters, splashers and fountains to cool off the kids in the hot Florida Sun.

The construction team of Pat Wilbur of Sea World, Dave Draskovich and Wally Nowry of FWC created a great working atmosphere for this high profile job. All of the team were committed to a safe work environment, a clean site and a helpful attitude to get this tightly scheduled project done on time and under budget. Another peerlessly run project by FWC.

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