Part of my responsibility as business director for Pentair’s large pool systems is to visit designers and builders across the country to gain a better understanding of how our products are being used to meet client needs and expectations. I’ve been in the pool business for nearly two decades and I’ve seen the company’s products used in everything from country clubs and apartment complexes to hotels, waterparks and health facilities, but this was certainly one of the most impressive, important installations I’ve ever seen.
We’d been called upon in one of many phases of a facility-wide renovation project intended to make the Clearwater Marine Aquarium a world-class institution. The “filter project,” as the aquarium staff called it, was about redesigning the pump-and-filter system on the dolphin pool and making the vessel more useful in furthering the aquarium’s mission of providing more educational opportunities, more exhibits and better habitats for the aquarium’s permanent residents and animals in rehabilitation.
From the outset, it motivated us that the dolphin pool is one of the most popular of all the aquarium’s attractions, and we’ve been pleased to deliver a system that has enriched the habitat through a significant upgrading of the filter system – an improvement needed to ensure a safe and nurturing habitat for multiple dolphins.
Overall, the aquarium’s renovation project is the subject of an ongoing, $3 million fund raising drive and is scheduled to unfold gradually during the next five years. By the time everything’s finished, the dolphin pool will be joined by a coral reef and shark habitat, a rescue complex, a cypress swamp exhibit, renovation of the sea turtle habitat and a new, interactive snorkeling area that will allow visitors to swim with aquarium residents.
As my own tour unfolded, I learned more and more about the history and current activities of the aquarium and was inspired by the fact that Pentair was playing a small but significant part in one of the most ambitious aquarium-expansion programs anywhere in the United States in recent years.