By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

If there was one thing everyone could agree on Friday, it was that Killeen will have a water park by Memorial Day 2009.

The Killeen Community Services Committee heard presentations from four architecture and engineering teams that were responding to a request for qualifications. The teams were trying to convince the committee and city staff why they should be selected to work with the city to build a water park in Lions Club Park.

Each design team boasted experience and creativity in different ways. Each team also promised to be able to build a water park that will open by summer next year.

The committee selected Kimley-Horn & Associates Inc. as its top choice for the city staff to negotiate with first. Councilman Kenny Wells made the motion to do so. He favored the firm for its experience in working on similar-size projects for municipalities. That includes the water park in Waco that was completed in 2002.

Killeen Community Services Director Glenn Morrison said that is similar to what Killeen will want to build. The Waco aquatic center was built at a cost of $2.9 million at the time, but because of inflation, it would cost $4.5 million to $5 million today, said Mark Hatchel, of Kimley-Horn.

"A majority of the work we do are publicly-funded projects," Hatchel said.

He said his firm has built more than 20 water park projects in Texas with its design team partner Counsilman-Hunsaker.

"If there's not water that's part of a project, we're probably not interested," said Scott Hester, of Counsilman-Hunsaker.

Kimley-Horn will also work with Davis & Davis Inc. for landscaping.

"They're known as specialists in wet and dry design," Hatchel said.

Hatchel said the first steps it would take would be to determine whether the project needs to be on the fast track and then a feasibility study.

"We've got the horsepower to do this quickly," Hatchel said.

Next, it would work with the Killeen Parks & Recreation Department to create a master plan to build the project in phases. KPR has expressed interest in a spray pad, water playground equipment, a lap pool and a wave pool in addition to non-water amenities. But those would be broken into phases.

Hatchel said his firm can be flexible in the design and phases.

"Because we do so much work around the country, we're very knowledgeable of national trends," Hatchel said. "We can be as creative as you want to be."

Kimley-Horn has also built Bedford Splash at Boys Ranch in Bedford, which Hatchel described as a "mini-Schlitterbahn"; Sun Valley in Lewisville; and the aquatic center in Mesquite, which had to be built on a small, tight budget.

"We want more bang for our buck," committee member Wells said.

City staff in the Killeen Parks & Recreation Department will negotiate with Kimley-Horn for design services.

"We're not making a firm decision, but we're choosing to negotiate with this firm first," Morrison said.

Morrison said he was hoping the first phase of the project would cost about $4 million.

"That's what they are going to help us determine," Morrison said.

If negotiations with Kimley-Horn do not work out, staff will negotiate with the committee's second choice: Brinkley Sargent Architects. Dwayne Brinkley, founding partner, boasted 32 years in public architecture.

"Doing public projects is what we do," Brinkley said.

He brought Kendall Landscape and Counsilman-Hunsaker to work with him on the project.

Brinkley said his firm recently worked on projects in Copperas Cove, Temple and Georgetown and stayed within budget.

"We wouldn't have this many municipal projects if we didn't meet these budgets," Brinkley said.

The committee also heard from Schrickel, Rollins and Associates Inc. and F&S Partners, which is currently working on Killeen's new Senior Center and Recreation Center, set to open by May.

The city staff, after negotiation, will take a proposal to the full Killeen City Council for final approval before signing a contract with a firm and proceeding with the project.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at or call (254) 501-7550

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