Project Quick Facts

Building Client

Scott Enterprises

Structural Engineer

Urban Engineers, Inc.

General Contractor

Bob Banks Project Management, Inc.

Software Used

RISA-3D, RISAFoundation

Structural Components

Wood Framing, Wood Trusses, Concrete Columns

Year Completed


Project Background

Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark Resort, located in Erie, PA allows visitors to enjoy summer activities year-round and was recently ranked as the #4 indoor waterpark by USAToday. The 80,000 sq-ft facility includes 12 waterslides, numerous pools, interactive tree house, ropes course, arcade, laser tag facility and wave pool all while providing 300,000 guests annually a respite during the long winter months.

"RISA allows us to study multiple solutions to a problem in order to determine the structural system that meets the clients’ objectives. With the current fast-track nature of the business, the ability to quickly arrive at the best solution is a definite advantage."

— Dave Steele, PE

About the Structure

The main structure includes a large clear span for the attractions and glulam timber columns were used to support the exposed framing system designed for the Splash Lagoon’s roof. In total, the main structure only required 10 interior columns as a result of the 84 ft glulam girders. Another unique structural feature is that of the tree-shaped columns, which made specifying narrower girders and trusses easier. More recently, the waterpark expanded to include a 200,000 gallon wave pool, which is the largest in the eastern United States. The addition includes the use of 120 ft clear span glulam trusses supported by circular concrete columns.

How Were RISA Products Utilized?

As with many projects, Dave Steele, Vice President of Urban Engineers (Philadelphia, PA), faced the dilemma of how to best deal with changes and as a result, required a software that could save him the most time. His choice of RISA-3D & RISAFoundation allowed for the modeling of both the gravity and lateral systems as well as the structure’s foundations. The features that saved Steele the most time were RISA-3D’s “physical members” which allows for fixity to be applied to all joints that occur along the length of the member, without breaking the member up into multiple smaller members. Overall, the complexity of the structure and fast track schedule required an analysis software that could meet the demands of the project and RISA-3D was up to the task.

Images 1-3: Urban Engineers