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Pentair: A Partner Who Delivers


Learn how Pentair and Paramount Pools turned the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater project into a true source of joy for the community.

An aquatics facility is much more than a place where physical activity and water come together. When executed well, an aquatics facility can be a true source of joy in a community, for those both young and old. 

The Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater in Albertville, Alabama, is a perfect example. With the aquatics elements completed in partnership with Pentair and Paramount Pools, the project has become a shining star in the community, boasting features such as a USA Swim Certified Olympic-sized indoor pool, two 25-foot waterslides, a splash pad with 48 spray elements, a 600-foot lazy river with a waterfall feature and much more. 

The facility is even more impressive when you take into consideration it was constructed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 15-month project kicked off in May 2019 and finished in the height of the pandemic in August 2020. During this time, the team also had to navigate changes to Department of Energy (DOE) pool pump regulations, which required all pumps to be switched to more energy-efficient, variable-speed pumps mid-project.

Following is an overview of how the Pentair and Paramount Pools teams overcame these challenges, learning lessons and the ultimate impact of the project on the local community. 


A Successful Partnership 

The Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater project was one of the largest the Paramount Pools team had undertaken, and the timeline was aggressive. As a result, they realized the importance of working with the right vendor partners to see the project successfully come to fruition. 

“An aquatics facility is an enormous capital investment,” said Keith Coley, the president of Paramount Pools. “The owners needed to carefully consider the equipment vendors to minimize the amount of maintenance spent on the facility and ensure each product installed would provide a lifecycle suitable to their long-term expectations.”

With these standards in mind, Paramount Pools immediately turned to Pentair, a trusted partner the company had worked with before, and that had the experience and resources required to take on a massive project such as the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater. 

“It is exactly Pentair’s past experience in large-scale water parks that made them the perfect choice to partner with on this project,” said Coley. “There was nothing on our project that Pentair had not previously completed. Pentair’s startup team came to the site to ensure all of the mechanical equipment was running to optimum levels. Going forward, this assured all systems were functioning as designed and eliminated the nuisance calls that may have otherwise occurred.”

Because the project was so large and had so many different aquatics elements, it was also important to identify a partner with a wide range of products and solutions. 

Pentair delivered on this criteria as well. With filters, pumps, heaters, chemical controllers, sanitizers, deck equipment and ADA lifts, Pentair provides a complete system solution from the smallest aquatics facilities to the largest, all in one place.

“The range of product inventory Pentair offers is especially helpful in procuring from a single vendor,” said Coley. “When you deal with a single manufacturer, the pumps and filters are designed to be paired together, providing optimum hydraulics flow throughout the system.”

According to Mike Fowler, a commercial sales manager at Pentair, the company was thrilled to take on the challenge of the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater project in partnership with Paramount Pools. 

“We look forward to anytime we get to work with Keith and his team,” said Fowler. “They are professional and trust Pentair to provide the best possible systems for their projects, which has helped us build a great relationship.”

With the right partners in place — Paramount Pools and Pentair — it was time to get to work. 


Challenge Accepted 

At first, the project was going swimmingly. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit just nine months into development. 

“One of the biggest challenges with constructing this facility during a pandemic was dealing with COVID-19 itself,” recalled Stephen Gulledge, the operations manager at Paramount Pools. “There were hundreds of trade workers responsible for working on the project. Due to the aggressive completion timeline, work methods and foot traffic patterns had to be incorporated to maintain social distancing. There were constant reports of other trades contracting COVID-19.”

Fortunately, due to the safety measures in place, none of the workers on the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater project fell ill. Between that and holding virtual meetings as needed, they didn’t lose any time. 

“Due to a travel ban, the startup of equipment was performed by video call with Pentair tech services,” explained Gulledge. “This allowed us to continue the test and balance phase of the job until on-site certifications could be performed.” 

As the project continued to make progress, the team was hit with another curveball. Right before the mechanical equipment submission was approved by the architect, the DOE changed efficiency requirements of the pumps. The now-approved pumps were no longer compliant. 

Thankfully, Pentair had a solution. 

“Pentair worked diligently to spec new pumps that met the project and DOE requirements,” said Gulledge. “Subsequently, the new pumps were approved and placed into production. Pentair achieved the scheduled delivery date — even during COVID-19 — and allowed us to obtain substantial completion.”

For the Pentair team, the thought of whether or not to come up with a solution, despite this curveball, never even crossed their minds. 

“Pentair is a company that takes pride in our relationships with our dealers and the ability to provide a complete system for an aquatic facility,” said Fowler. 

These challenges showcase why it’s so important for operators to choose the right vendor partners when it comes to completing and maintaining projects such as the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater. You never know what situations will arise, and as such, need to be able to rely on the expertise of others. 

“A common mistake we see is when operators try to do everything themselves,” said Fowler. “It is an important responsibility to maintain a facility, especially the aquatics part of it, as it is crucial to the success of making your members and visitors happy.”


Mission Accomplished 

Almost two years after the project’s completion, the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater is a great example of what can be accomplished when the right vendor partners and leaders come together and innovate, despite the many challenges thrown their way. 

“It’s always an amazing feeling when you work with a customer from the initial project stage as a concept on a piece of paper, and then see what your equipment is helping to create when it’s done,” said Fowler. “Sand Mountain Park is one beautiful place, and I’m proud to know Pentair played a part in making it that way.”

Ultimately, the teams at both Pentair and Paramount Pools worked together to transform the Sand Mountain Park & Amphitheater into a destination for families and locals in the region. 

“With the Sand Mountain project we were able to work with Keith and his team from the get-go and provide a system for them that led to the completion of Paramount’s great work — a successful project that will bring joy to that community for many years to come,” said Fowler.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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