WRMCA 2012 Award Winning Project
Designed to provide the highest level of enjoyment for skateboarders, the Stevens Point Skate Park was constructed with ready-mix concrete from County Materials, including exterior flatwork and shotcrete for curved, ramped, and vertical surfaces. After researching other skate parks, the designer and park planners determined that concrete would provide the smoothest ride and most durable surface, making it easier for skaters to handle the obstacle courses. Also, the rigidity of concrete can rebound energy back to the skateboard’s deck, which helps make trick maneuvers more enjoyable for the rider.
The park was designed to resemble a street plaza. Because concrete is a three-dimensional building product, the designer was able to replicate obstacles within it to look like typical street features, including bowls, stairs, walls, railings, planters and even benches. Concrete was also a necessary material for the design and construction of the boomerang shaped pool at the center of the skate park.
Concrete was a practical material choice to use in the construction of this project given its long lifespan and minimized need for maintenance and repairs. Because of the high cement content in the mixes, contractors were able to successfully use hard trowels to meet the desired smoothness that skateboarders enjoy with less fear of accident or injury. A penetrating sealer was also used to protect the concrete from freeze-thaw damage.
With a disturbance area of 14,422 square feet and a concrete/shotcrete footprint of 11,321 square feet, this flowing skate park presented unique engineering challenges. One challenge was finding solutions to control cracking that can result from drying and shrinkage. This was especially difficult to accomplish in curved areas, such as the boomerang bowl where spider cracks can have a tendency to form. Another challenge was dealing with the changes in thickness, such as the top of a two-sided ramp which has a slab-on-grade transition on each side.
The solution to resolve these challenges involved strategically placed contraction joints to guide cracking to an aesthetically pleasing location. Another solution was to employ very careful construction techniques to ensure all concrete was placed to the required thickness, especially during the shotcreting process. Templates were used to obtain the initial shape where shotcreting was performed and then depth probes helped to ensure the proper concrete cover had been achieved over reinforcing bars.
Another unique feature within the skate park was the use of metal coping around all the corners. This method provides a durable edge for skateboards and bike pegs to grind on. In addition, studs welded to the back of coping were used as a means to anchor the coping which is held in place by cast-in-place concrete.
Based on the reactions from skateboarders, the Stevens Point Skate Park’s toughest critics, it appears the time and effort put into the design and construction of this unique park were well worth it.