Residents and officials have tossed around the idea of a Moundridge water park for a while, but there are a lot of factors to consider when undertaking such a project.

Residents and officials have tossed around the idea of a Moundridge water park for a while, but there are a lot of factors to consider when undertaking such a project.

"It's been talked about in the past," said Murray McGee, economic development director for Moundridge. "The city has looked into the cost and how to develop a water park."

Moundridge already has a city pool, and water parks exist in McPherson and Hutchinson. McGee said the proximity of similar attractions is one factor the city considers in determining whether a water park would be successful.

"I don't think we've gone into a detailed analysis yet," he said. "It's not in the immediate plans."

According to Markey and Associates, which assists in planning and designing aquatic facilities, most projects start with a feasibility study, needs assessment or master plan to identify options, establish a service area or market, determine the size and number of elements, and forecast revenues and expenses and capital costs. They can also provide concept art of what a future park could look like.

These studies come with a cost, ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.

If the plan moves forward, the city would need space to put the park. This depends on the size and features included. Markey and Associates estimates a family aquatic center typically requires 2 to 6 acres, and a commercial water park can occupy up to 40 acres.

Building costs also vary by size and features, with design costs running between 6 and 8 percent of the construction cost. A small outdoor leisure pool complex typically runs between $2 million and $4 million, and waterslides can run an additional $200,000 to $500,000.

Once the park is built, the park would then have to cover ongoing costs. Kyle Roberts, aquatics director for McPherson, said the biggest expense for the McPherson pool is chemicals.

"You have chlorine tabs, and the acid to balance out the pH," he said. "When you get more people using the pool, you also use more chemicals."

Roberts said regular upkeep and maintenance adds up, especially at the 14-year-old McPherson park.

"Things wear out, and you have replace them, from pumps to gauges and sensors," he said.

Finally, the pool must pay its employees, who keep the park open, safe and running.

"There's also the little things, like concessions, cleaning, paper towels and toilet paper, and guard tubes," he said.