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Park nears completion: Developing Stormwater Park set to serve the city as well as Jeff students
Last Spring, work began on the Durkees Run Stormwater Park on the east side of the school. When finished, this park is going to be a complete outdoor study area, an amphitheater, and features to be used in science courses such as biology and physics.
The area will be owned and maintained by the city of Lafayette. The park was designed and built by the Tippecanoe County Partenership for Water Quality, the Bowen Engineering Corporation, the Butler Fairman & Seufert Civil Engineers, and Williams Creek Consulting.
Maps and flyers about the park explain that the Stormwater Park is intended to treat, store, and filter storm water from the surrounding areas. The park will also provide benefits by decreasing the storm water flow and recharging underground aquifers. It will provide educational opportunities and recreational possibilities for the community.
Science department specialist Debra Beck said, “It is exciting to see that the area looks more finished and landscaped. It was difficult to see the trees removed, and it was difficult to see the area so raw and eroded.”
Now that the project is becoming complete and recognizable with the diagrams, many are becoming happy with the results. On Oct. 2, the school board, administrators, and science teachers were invited to examine and tour the park.
Teachers of biology, earth science, chemistry, and physics all partook in the opportunity to see the area.
Guests had the opportunity to meet and speak with engineers who had a part in the making of the park. Designers made sure to clarify that few stormwater parks exist in the United States. This park is designed to keep areas closer to Scheumann Stadium dry and keep areas closer to 18 street wetter because there is lower ground.
Many wondered at first how useful the park would be to Jeff. Beck said that teachers are not 100 percent sure of how they will use the site, but with more information, maps, and time, they will be able to formulate ideas for the area.
“Teachers have begun to talk about ways to collect data and make observations in the area,” said Beck.
The park includes several water features, such as markers to designate flood levels.
Native plants and trees have also been planted to guarantee that it will fit in with the local natural landscape.
One of the innovative features that can be observed is a complex irrigation system. In it, water from the school’s property will run through this system and make sure that the plants all have water as well.
Teachers at Jeff were also permitted a small amount of input into the design of the park. One of the main concerns was ensuring that the park would be completely handicap accessible. They also had a part in deciding the variety of natural features, including trees, rocks, and other smaller plants.
The park is a “dawn-to-dusk” park, much like other parks in the area. This will guarantee that there will be no crime, and it will also require no lights to be installed. Having no lighting will save the city money, and it will reduce the light pollution for the area. Teachers found that each major feature of the park can help in each of their curriculums.
Earth and Space Science teachers appreciated the rocks, fossils, and limestone while the porous pavers of the amphitheater interested the environmental science teachers.
Physics teachers will be able to use the area to study water pressure and buoyancy.
Engineering students will be able to study the structure of the pond area while biology students will be able to study the pond water and micro-organisms that live within.
This park has proven that it should become a beneficial addition to Jefferson High School and the Lafayette community.
“When we look out of the windows toward the area, it looks like a construction zone. It is beginning to feel like a park where thoughtful, restful, and natural studies could occur,” Beck concluded about the construction.
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