That’s a Wrap!

We finally finished building today! There was some uncertainty last night and this morning that we would finish the deck, but we pushed through all the problems and completed everything that we had on the agenda. All the boards were screwed into the deck and the formwork was taken off the concrete seatwell, which was then back-filled and regraded for drainage. We did some minor repairs to the grass surrounding our site, and Parks & Rec will be in soon to see to the details and re-seed. Fences came down and everything is about ready to enjoy!

Formwork came off the seatwall early in the morning. It's usually recommended that it be left on for 24 hours, but we pulled it off at about 17 hours and it was fine.

Formwork came off the seatwall early in the morning. It’s usually recommended that it be left on for 24 hours, but we pulled it off at about 17 hours and it was fine.

Concrete seatwall before it was backfilled. Those loops were used to hold the forms tight and were snapped off.

Concrete seatwall before it was backfilled. Those loops were used to hold the forms tight and were snapped off.

A view underneath the deck before the last board is placed.

A view underneath the deck before the last flat board is placed.

The last screw of the last board of the entire deck being screwed in.

The last screw of the last board of the entire deck being screwed in.

Celebrating! This is an example of how the deck should NOT be used.

Celebrating! This is an example of how the deck should NOT be used.

Checking out our handiwork. iPhones out; deck Instagrammed.

Checking out our handiwork. iPhones out; deck Instagrammed.

The finished product: short strip.

The finished product: short strip.

The long strip of the deck.

The long strip of the deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All hands on deck (ha!) Some students put boards onto the taller fold.

All hands on deck (ha!) Some students put boards onto the taller fold.

A student working on the final site model brought it to the site to make the final touches.

A student working on the final site model brought it to the site to make the final touches. A bird pooped on it as soon as it was finished.

The seatwall is backfilled, the mound re-shaped and seeded. Nasty weather in the background of this picture.

The seatwall is backfilled, the mound re-shaped and seeded. Nasty weather in the background of this picture.

Students and instructor watch weather roll in from the new bench.

Students and instructor watch weather roll in from the new bench.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost There!

This is the last week we have to work at Burke Park, and due to weather, it looks like we have to finish tomorrow! Today we made a lot of progress on a lot of different sectors of the project, including finishing the biomes. The right boulders were delivered to the montane and grassland biomes near the end of the day. Scroll through to see our progress.

Early in the morning, with the deck all framed, two students arrange the composition of the deck boards.

Early in the morning, with the deck all framed, two students arrange the composition of the deck boards.

Adding an extra support near the west fold was no small feat. These students crawled underneath the structure and worked with about one foot of clearance in which to swing a hammer.

Adding an extra support near the west fold was no small feat. These students crawled underneath the structure and worked with about one foot of clearance in which to swing a hammer.

The formwork for the concrete seat wall that edges a central mound was much more complex than the formwork for the deck's foundation.

The formwork for the concrete seat wall that edges a central mound was much more complex than the formwork for the deck’s foundation and included braces that bridged from the surrounding land.

We finally poured the concrete seatwall! The water drained out of the trench over the weekend which allowed us to continue with the formwork.

We finally poured the concrete seatwall! The water drained out of the trench over the weekend which allowed us to continue with the formwork.

Pouring concrete.

Pouring concrete.

This is ipe (prounounced ee-pay), a type of hardwood that is very durable to weather and wear. It also happens to be incredibly photogenic.

This is ipe (prounounced ee-pay), a type of hardwood that is very durable to weather and wear. It also happens to be incredibly photogenic.

Side note: the delivery of new boulders marks the finishing of the biomes!

Side note: the delivery of new boulders marks the finishing of the biomes!

The deck towards the end of the day. Framing is built and a few boards have been screwed on. We're almost there!

The deck towards the end of the day. Framing is built and a few boards have been screwed on. We’re almost there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approaching the Deadline

The weather has decided it will not cooperate with our construction deadline and has been trying to slow the project down, but we are pushing through! We had to take Wednesday off due to snow, but got back to it Thursday morning. A lot of things happened this week; some good, some bad, but all great learning opportunities. We have to pass a concrete inspection and a deck framing inspection, and once we do, we can finish the concrete bench and the outdoor classroom.

Early Thursday morning, clearing a workspace for ourselves to cut wood.

Early Thursday morning, clearing a workspace for ourselves to cut wood.

Orange construction fences droop under heavy snow.

Orange construction fences droop under heavy snow.

We uncovered the bench foundation to discover it had flooded with all the moisture.

We uncovered the bench foundation to discover it had flooded with all the moisture.

"Burke Creek." As the snow started melting, puddles began to form in our work area. Some students quickly dug a little canyon through a pile of dirt to let it drain.

“Burke Creek.” As the snow started melting, puddles began to form in our work area. Some students quickly dug a little canyon through a pile of dirt to let it drain.

This little guy discovered our lunch table and tried to help himself before we shoo-ed him away.

This little guy discovered our lunch table and tried to help himself before we shoo-ed him away.

Testing out angles for the fold on the southwest side of the deck.

Testing out angles for the fold on the southwest side of the deck.

Testing more angles for the folds.

Testing more angles for the folds.

Hanging joists to give structure to the folds. We had to work in some weird angles to get the nails in.

Hanging joists to give structure to the folds. We had to work in some weird angles to get the nails in.

One of Burke Park's fuzzy flying inhabitants inspects the wood for the deck. Approved!

One of Burke Park’s fuzzy flying inhabitants inspects the wood for the deck. Approved!

The end of the day Friday and the deck is almost fully framed. It has really started to take its shape. We will be out in full force Monday morning to finish up within the week!

The end of the day Friday and the deck is almost fully framed. It has really started to take its shape. We will be out in full force Monday morning to finish up within the week!

More Concrete, Trees, and Digging in the Rocks

In anticipation of Wednesday’s predicted snow we got to the site early today. By 8:00 a.m., we had met with engineers about the deck, pulled formwork off the concrete we poured yesterday and planted four of the five trees in the grassland biome. Over the course of the day we framed the deck, poured the footer for the concrete bench, and finished both the grassland and montane biomes.

Newly cured concrete casts a shadow onto itself after the formwork is pulled off.

Newly cured concrete casts a shadow onto itself after the formwork is pulled off.

Ready for more concrete in the bench footer.

Ready for more concrete in the bench footer.

Our concrete experts came back to help with the pour.

Our concrete experts came back to help with the pour.

A crew celebrates the near completion of the grassland biome. We will add boulders in the center of the ring of trees, but the wrong ones were delivered yesterday.

A crew celebrates the near completion of the grassland biome. We will add boulders in the center of the ring of trees, but the wrong ones were delivered yesterday.

The nearly completed montane biome. Five bristlecone pines will surround boulders in the center here, too.

The nearly completed montane biome. Five bristlecone pines will surround boulders in the center here, too.

Laying fabric beneath the deck to prevent weeds from growing beneath it.

Laying fabric beneath the deck to prevent weeds from growing beneath it.

Working on framing the deck. These metal brackets are mounted on wood platforms that are higher towards the sidewalk and lower towards the mountains to make up for the slope change. The brackets will hold up the structure.

Working on framing the deck. These metal brackets are mounted on wood platforms that are higher towards the sidewalk and lower towards the mountains to make up for the slope change. The brackets will hold up the structure.

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete

Today was one of the most productive work days we have had. The biggest thing was pouring the concrete for the deck’s foundation, but we had a few other projects going on the side. Scroll through for details.

We had to finish tying the rebar before we could pour. Since it has to be at least 2" away from the formwork, we had to cut a few pieces to reshape them.

We had to finish tying the rebar before we could pour. Since it has to be at least 2″ away from the formwork, we had to cut a few pieces and reshape them.

Checking if the forms are level: perfect! (In this spot, anyway.)

Checking if the forms are level: perfect! (In this spot, anyway.)

The concrete truck drove to the edge of the park and a tractor brought loads over to the deck site.

The concrete truck drove to the edge of the park and a tractor brought loads over to the deck site.

We worked with a team of concrete experts today. After it was poured, it was meticulously smoothed and shaped.

We worked with a team of concrete experts today. After it was poured, it was meticulously smoothed and shaped.

We were nearly done when we ran out of concrete. The truck went and got us a little more, but we weren't in the clear yet.

We were nearly done when we ran out of concrete. The truck went and got us a little more, but we weren’t in the clear yet.

We ran out of concrete after we made it around the outside. We sent for some bags to mix ourselves. Here it is being carried over.

We ran out of concrete after we made it around the outside. We sent for some bags to mix ourselves. Here it is being carried over.

800 lbs. of concrete. We didn't use it all but wanted to make sure we'd have enough.

800 lbs. of concrete. We didn’t use it all but wanted to make sure we’d have enough.

We used pond water to mix our own concrete.

We used pond water to mix our own concrete.

Hand mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow.

Hand mixing concrete in the wheelbarrow.

Filling in the last piece of formwork with concrete.

Filling in the last piece of formwork with concrete.

The group that worked on the deck all semester make their signature in the concrete, though it will be covered by the deck.

The group that worked on the deck all semester make their signature in the concrete, though it will be covered by the deck.

Our team of concrete experts smile for a picture. We couldn't have done it without them!

Our team of concrete experts smile for a picture. We couldn’t have done it without them!

MEANWHILE, AT OTHER PARTS OF THE SITE: Sorry for the long post; we came a long way today!

The wetland biome is installed.

The wetland biome is installed.

The biome team tests out their first installation. Thumbs up!

The biome team tests out their first installation. Thumbs up!

We fixed the water problem in the foundation hole for the concrete bench by digging a foot deeper, filling it with a layer of jagged rocks, then compacting gravel on top of that. Rebar is tied here-ready for a concrete pour.

We fixed the water problem in the foundation hole for the concrete bench by digging a foot deeper, filling it with a layer of jagged rocks, then compacting gravel on top of that. Rebar is tied here-ready for a concrete pour.

Wood delivery. The wood for the deck came today and needed to be stored off the ground. We stacked it on top of this grid and wrapped it up.

Wood delivery. The wood for the deck came today and needed to be stored off the ground. We stacked it on top of this grid and wrapped it up.

Getting the wood off the truck was no easy feat, but we managed in the end with only a few scratches. That's a wrap!

Getting the wood off the truck was no easy feat, but we managed in the end with only a few scratches. That’s a wrap!

Ready for Concrete

A lot of progress was made between Wednesday and Friday this week, with some long hours put in. We are getting ready to pour our concrete foundations, with high hopes that it can happen Monday morning. Obviously there were a few snags in the process, like pieces of prefabricated steel rebar not fitting exactly right, or digging up utilities. The students have been assured that these are both very normal setbacks for any project. The rebar we laid will be inspected by both the City of Boulder and the concrete company, and if we did it right then we can pour concrete.

The product of Wednesday's work. We got most of the space for the foundation dug out.

The product of Wednesday’s work. We got most of the space for the foundation dug out.

We checked on the hole for concrete bench. At 40" below grade it was filled with groundwater, which means that we need to rethink how this can be accomplished. But it also proves that groundwater can keep the lake at its current levels!

We checked on the hole for concrete bench. At 40″ below grade it was filled with groundwater, which means that we need to rethink how this can be accomplished. But it also proves that groundwater can keep the lake at its current levels!

Setting up formwork for the concrete. It is basically a frame. The concrete is poured in, hardens, then the forms are taken off.

Setting up formwork for the concrete. It is basically a frame. The concrete is poured in, hardens, then the forms are taken off.

Checking formwork.

Checking formwork.

Laying rebar. It provides structure for the concrete that will be poured over and around it.

Laying rebar. It provides structure for the concrete that will be poured over and around it.

A rebar grid that will be underneath a concrete pad leading from the sidewalk to the deck.

A rebar grid that will be underneath a concrete pad leading from the sidewalk to the deck.

 

 

 

 

 

Visitors may notice that their park is a bit of mess right now, but don’t worry, it will be cleaned up and better than ever before you know it! The ground was covered with a fresh blanket of snow and nearly frozen solid, but we got to it with our shovels and pickaxes! The goal today was to dig holes for the foundation of the deck and for the concrete bench located at the end of the most central mound. It was slow progress until the back hoe arrived. Within a few hours the snow was melting, the grass was muddy, and coats were being shed. We made great progress and hope to finish digging tomorrow, with fingers crossed that we may be able to pour concrete on Friday.

As we begin, we lift a piece of ice off of the tarps that covered the holes we dug Monday.

As we begin, we lift a piece of ice off of the tarps that covered the holes we dug Monday.

A student marks the edge of the deck's foundation so everyone knows where to dig.

A student marks the edge of the deck’s foundation so everyone knows where to dig.

The pickaxe was helpful in loosening the ground. Saying the soil is rocky is an understatement.

The pickaxe was helpful in loosening the ground. Saying the soil is rocky is an understatement.

Removed earth begins to pile up.

Removed earth begins to pile up.

A student dug up a very old horseshoe. We suspect that it was once the property of Burke Farm.

A student dug up a very old horseshoe. We suspect that it was once the property of Burke Farm.

 

Help arrives! In one scoop, the backhoe clears what it would take several hours to clear with shovels.

Help arrives! In one scoop, the backhoe clears what it would take several hours to clear with shovels.

Whoops. We dug through an unmarked electrical line. It sparked like crazy and we were all told to stay away from it. Xcel was out within the hour to get things back on track.

Whoops. We dug through an unmarked electrical line. It sparked like crazy and we were all told to stay away from it. Xcel was out within the hour to get things back on track.

The melting snow reveals the drainage near our site very beautifully.

The melting snow reveals the drainage near our site very beautifully.

Rebar delivery! These 20' long steel rods hung well off the back of this big truck, and stuck through the back window to rest on a side mirror. The rebar will support the concrete.

Rebar delivery! These 20′ long steel rods hung well off the back of this big truck, and stuck through the back window to rest on a side mirror. The rebar will support the concrete.

Towards the end of class, we hit the depth mark for the concrete benches: 56" down at the deepest point.

Towards the end of class, we hit the depth mark for the concrete benches: 56″ down at the deepest point.

Lunch break. Students and shovels alike get a rest before continuing.

Lunch break. Students and shovels alike get a rest before finishing up.