By Larry Kidder | Drayson Center's waterslide has come up missing. Actually, it is being reconstructed to ensure its structural integrity and should be open by June 21 or earlier.
That’s right. The steps leading to Drayson Center’s iconic waterslide have disappeared. The area surrounding the concrete bases for the steel beams are cordoned off with caution tape.
It’s actually good news. The slide was closed more than a year ago, due to structural problems. Water pouring down the tower each time a child or child-at-heart prepared for launch had rusted and weakened the structure.
An annual check by a structural engineer indicated spots of the support beams had rusted completely through, and the waterslide was closed.
“The seating area just before heading down the slide was too low in relation to the slide itself,” explains Stephanie Dennis, construction project manager. “That caused much of the water to splash backward, rather than going down the slide.”
The continuous flow of water on the steel has been eroding it since the slide was built in late 1994. When it came time to repaint the tower as part of routine maintenance, the damage was fully realized when the insides of the beams were scoped and diagnosed.
The Construction and Architectural Services department, part of Loma Linda University Shared Services, is overseeing the waterslide renovation project. On April 30, the process of dismantling the tower began.
SoCal Custom, Inc., a local construction company with valuable steelwork knowledge, has been tasked with creating the components for the new tower. The steel structure will be fashioned, galvanized, and painted offsite before making the trip to Drayson Center for assembly.
The first person to use Drayson Center’s waterslide back in 1995 was Mavis Minchen-Lindgren, an athlete who began running marathons at the age of 70. The indoor running track in Opsahl Gym is named in her honor, and she ran the first lap on it at the age of 87.
In addition, during an impromptu moment at the Grand Opening on January 11, she bravely climbed the steps to the waterslide, a prominent feature of the Lindgren Aquatics Center. On a cold overcast day in 1995, with hundreds of celebrants looking on in their warm winter coats, she went down the waterslide and was quickly wrapped in towels and blankets.
The indoor running track and aquatics center were named for Clarence Lindgren, MD, an alumnus of Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He wanted to honor his sister-in-law, Mavis, and the memory of his wife, Ruby.
Projections for reopening the waterslide have been set for June 21 or earlier. If all goes as planned, those attending the first of four Swim-N-Cinema programs will be able to enjoy the renovated slide.