Wardle Fields Regional Park
Bluffdale, Utah
Best Project

Owner: Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation
Lead Design Firm: Think Architecture
General Contractor: Hogan & Associates Construction
Civil Engineer: Perigee Consulting
Structural Engineer: BHB Engineering
MEP Engineer: Royal Engineering
Water Engineer: Water Design Inc.
Irrigation Consultant: Jacobsen Irrigation Design

A splash pad with geysers and a waterfall. Two zip lines for racing. A three-quarter-mile walking loop. These are among the amenities at Wardle Fields Regional Park, which sits on the site of the old Wardle farm in Bluffdale, Utah. 

There’s also a spacious playground, along with two multipurpose sports fields, a full-size basketball court with six hoops, a 300-ft-long artificial bouldering wall, a 20-ft-high net-climbing pyramid and a 25-ft-tall fire-watch tower equipped with slides. More competitive visitors can enjoy the park’s 16 pickleball courts. Pickleball, which combines aspects of badminton, tennis and ping-pong, is one of the fastest-growing sports in America.

The park’s most popular activity for children is getting wet, in both the splash pad area and below the boulder wall, which has water spurting from it. That’s why one of the park’s most important environmental features is its water conservation system.  Each day, water is captured from the splash pad, then treated and used to irrigate the grass and the more than 300 trees.

Dealing with the splash pad’s runoff, in fact, represented one of the project’s biggest design challenges. The team eventually settled on an innovative water reuse system that stores 325,000 gallons per day in underground tanks and then draws water out through a complex system of pipes, pumps, filters and controllers. The lead designer, Think Architecture, says the resulting system incorporates a new approach that requires an electronic communication system operating between separate controllers to monitor and operate the splash pad, water treatment and irrigation systems.

The property once belonged to Charles Wardle, a farmer who eventually sold the land to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2008, Salt Lake County bought 80 acres with funds from a 2006 open-space bond. The 41 acres currently in use represent the first phase of development. The park will eventually cover the entire property. It is also the first of three new regional parks slated for the area. Along with members of the Wardle family, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams cut the ribbon and officially opened the park on May 27.

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