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Expansion Pumps Up Vermont Resort

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Best Residential/Hospitality

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Continuing a long-term expansion project, the Jay Peak ski resort in northern Vermont near the Canadian border has added a hotel and water park to become more of a four-season destination.

The hotel and water park, an attached complex that together measure 272,000 sq ft, sit at the base of a mountain with 76 trails and nine lifts.

The 176-room hotel, clad in clapboard and shiplap siding, replaces an older 20-room structure that stood on the same site. All guest rooms have gas fireplaces; 11 of them have solariums.

The enclosed water park has glass walls and is topped by a convex retractable roof. Its attractions include the 65-ft La Chute, which drops down into a 45-mile-an-hour free fall, and the Double Barrel Flowrider, which kicks up big enough waves to enable surfing. Water slides spiral outside before returning to the main room, where a bar serves cocktails to bathing suit-clad guests—any time of year. That is because there are no worries if a blizzard blows through—the sturdy polycarbonate roof can support up to 80 lb of snow per sq ft.

The water park, which will be heated to more than 80 degrees in winter, has eco-conscious flourishes. Waste heat from the hotel and a nearby ice skating rink is recovered and used for the pools; chlorine is made on site from table salt, which obviates the need to truck it in. Excess water use is reduced due to the complex's low-flow toilets, waterless urinals and automatic faucets.

"It was a complicated project with many different parts," says Sara Bosworth, DEW Construction Corp. project manager.

Finding a local team in landlocked Vermont that was skilled at building a water park was one hurdle, DEW says. Ultimately, Jay Peak went with Wisconsin-based Ramaker & Associates, a water park designer, and Canada-based OpenAire, a retractable roof manufacturer.

"Several team members took trips to water parks throughout the U.S. to gain a complete understanding of various design elements and specialty equipment involved with this kind of construction," DEW says.

Another challenge was the harsh Vermont winters in which snow can start in September and not melt until May. DEW, which has completed at least four projects for the resort, says that preplanning "construction solutions" was essential. This included, for example, securing deliveries such as water park slides months in advance and having daily contact with suppliers and subcontractors within 10 days of the delivery date. Such precautions helped to ensure the team's success despite the weather conditions.

Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark, Jay, Vt.

Key Players

Owner/Developer: Jay Peak Resort

General Contractor/Construction Manager: DEW Construction Corp.

Lead Designer: Black River Design

Civil Engineer: Engineered Solutions

Structural Engineer: Hardy Structural Engineering

MEP Engineer: LN Consulting, William Bissell, Ramaker & Associates

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