Making a splash

The redeveloped Tandy Family YMCA in Tulsa, Okla., applies Universal Design strategies to effectively engage toddlers, seniors and everyone in between. At the onset of work upgrading a 1968 facility, principals envisioned the entry feature to function as year-round work of art, highly activated in the summer and durable enough to withstand constant use and weather. As a wet play surface, hardscape materials needed to account for a coefficient of friction safe for energetic play.


Bomanite of Tulsa’s biggest challenge was finishing intricate architectural concrete while other Tandy Family YMCA subcontractors worked in close proximity, installing drainage, water lines and masonry. Construction manager Flintco’s precise work sequence addressed multiple subcontractor overlaps.


A targeted connection between the facility and community is embodied in a dynamic new “splash garden” at the primary entrance. Color treatment and design share the story of the Arkansas River as it cuts a path through Oklahoma’s rolling hills, known as Green Country.

“The concept behind the overall design was developed without knowing exactly what the finish materials would be,” says GH2 Architects Associate Principal Jeremy Carlisle. The complexity of executing the design vision began with the details of incorporating two distinct concrete treatments, which had to be poured above the network of lines and drainage channels required to support the water features. The concrete scope also involved multiple grades of work, permeable and impermeable surfaces, and a variety of adjacencies to natural stone walls.

From previous project experience, the architect knew flatwork contractor Bomanite of Tulsa and owner Charles Foster for a hands-on nature and attention to detail. “There were really a lot of different requirements in choosing the right materials for the splash garden and Bomanite met them all,” Carlisle affirms, noting the confidence he felt in turning over the entire scope of architectural concrete work to a single contractor.

An independent, licensed contractor within the North American Bomanite network, Foster worked with GH2 and YMCA of Tulsa leadership during design to propose products, colors, and finishes that would work well with the architecture and interiors. “The Tandy Family YMCA was a wonderful project, exactly the kind of complex, detailed work we like to do,” Foster explains. Presenting tile size samples of the chosen materials is an important step that ensures owners and designers understand what they are going to get and sets a high bar for workmanship and finishes, he adds. Ultimately, a total of 3,800 sq. ft. of Bomanite Exposed Aggregate was installed and finished in a combination of Revealed (Custom Blue Glass) and Sandscape Texture (Gobi Desert Integral Color) techniques. prepared by Sean O’Keefe for Bomanite Co., Granite Bay, Calif., 303/369-1115