A Sandy classic gone: The waterslides at Classic Fun Center will be replaced by new activitiesOct 18, 2018 02:10PM ● By Jana Klopsch
Managers at Classic submitted a two-story building plan to the city. They’re taking suggestions for activities to add. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
If waterslide names like Octopus or Stingray mean something to you, it’s probably because you spent time at the Classic Fun Center waterslides in the last 40 years. Hopefully, you got your fill of them this past summer, because Classic has cleared the site to make way for a new building and more indoor attractions.
“I’ve been with Classic since 1991. We loved the waterslides and there’s a lot of nostalgia there, but they’ve run their course,” said Jared Halls, general manager and part-owner of Classic Fun Center, in October. The waterslides were part of the original complex and opened in the 1979–1980 season. But summer 2018 was their swan song. When the waterslides closed for the season in September, they were removed permanently.
As waterparks go, it wasn’t huge. There were four waterslides, all original to the park, which emptied into a splash pool. In recent years, the slide mats that were once a luxury were used by nearly all patrons. The mats prevented sore bottoms and torn swimsuits from the bumps in the slide connections. There was also a grassy area for patrons to sit, a kiddie area with picnic tables and a lazy river feature into the 1990s.
Halls said Classic had one of the first waterparks in Utah. But Utah’s weather is problematic for a waterpark. The short summer season and unpredictable weather are hard to negotiate financially. For example, Aug. 27 was one of the last dates the park was open, and the weather turned cold and windy with rain and lightning, which is a deal-breaker for swimming.
Abbey, a nine-year old patron, was there that day with her cousins. “I rode on the Octopus slide three times and had so much fun. We didn’t know it was going to close after this summer. We got the last chance to go to the waterpark. I hope they build a new one. But now the Classic waterslides are only a legend,” Abbey said.
Management is interested in the public’s ideas. The plans are already drawn for a connecting building to be built on the former waterpark site. But as far as what will go inside the building, that is still open to suggestion.
“The building will be two stories, we know that. That keeps our options open for tall things like a rock climbing wall. We did a poll on Facebook a couple weeks ago and got a lot of good ideas. And people talk to me almost every day about what they’d like us to include,” said Halls.
One suggestion they’re looking at is a way to bring the waterpark indoors so it could be used year round. Those plans would include installing an indoor surfing pool or splash pad. And there are no changes planned to the current indoor activities: skating, laser tag, bounce houses, birthday parties and the dime arcade.
Currently, the plans are being reviewed by Sandy City. “In an ideal world, we’d be breaking ground as soon as the snow melts in spring 2019 and opening the new building by Christmas 2019. But there are a lot of things that can get in the way to slow the process,” said Halls.
One of those things is the site itself. Halls said the ground where the waterpark sat had originally been level. The slides and splash pool were created by digging out the land for the pool, then piling it up to create the hill where the slides started. To re-create a level building site, the construction project will reverse that process.
Regardless of what activities go in the new building, “there are some things that we are really proud of that won’t change. First, we’re a huge advocate and supporter of the school systems. We do family skate nights for schools for little to no cost and other school activities. Second, we are fun and affordable; it’s the staycation concept. It’s safe and families can afford it,” Halls said.
And last, the managers at Classic will choose activities that get kids and families moving. “We believe in fun and fitness. We’re looking for things where kids are playing and burning calories without realizing that they’re exercising,” said Halls.
With their upcoming November trip to the Amusement Park Convention (best job requirement ever?), Halls and the other owners are likely to come back with some great ideas.