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, so get out there an enjoy it.
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.
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.
Celebrations! But kids, please don’t use it this way.
Checking out our handiwork. iPhones out; deck Instagrammed.
The short strip of the deck.
The long strip of the deck.
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 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.
Students and instructor watch weather roll in from the new bench.
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.
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 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.
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!
The deck towards the end of the day. Framing is built and a few boards have been screwed on. We’re almost there!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 finishing up.
Our project has had its ups and downs. Here are three favorites:
FAIL: THESE ARE NOT ALLOWED IN YOUR TREES. The class has spent weeks developing interpretive educational components of the outdoor classroom. Trees were to be tagged with cards showing information about their species, and birds were going to be mounted in branches for a “bird scavenger hunt.” Today we discovered that attaching things to trees is illegal in Boulder.
WIN: the grass we planted on the mounds has been thriving and is quickly growing its way through the jute covering.
WIN: this fluffy squirrel posed for a photo during a site reconnaissance mission.
Previous posts suggested that if you would like to donate to the Burke Park Design/Build you can mail checks to the PLAY Foundation. We have decided with the city that checks can instead be made out to Parks and Recreation, NOT the PLAY Foundation, and the price of $200 for a memorial tree stays the same.
Permitting and weather delays will limit what we can build by the first week of May when our semester ends, which means a pared down version of the deck. To ensure that we can build a deck at all, one of the instructors worked with city staff over break. They agreed on a smaller size and simpler foundation (see last post). The cutout in the middle has transformed into a cut out of the southwest corner. The folds, which received good responses from community members, remain on either end.
Plan view of the new deck design