A skatepark on campus. That was an idea that FLC Students Lleyton Hull and Joey Borer had when they came to Fort Lewis College in the fall of 2021.
“It's a cool college,” Hull said. “But why is there not a skatepark when there are so many skaters?”
So, Hull and Borer began to work towards building an on-campus skate park. Step one was to organize themselves as a group. They created ‘Extreme Concrete Sports,’ a club designed for skaters on campus in fall of 2021, Hull said.
Hull and Borer’s goal in starting Extreme Concrete Sports was to show the school that there was a need for a skatepark based on the number of skaters there were on campus, they said. This worked well, as the team had 60 to 70 people show up to their first few events, Hull said.
“There were way more skaters than I thought there would be,” Borer said. “And it didn't feel like they were very unionized.”
Borer went on to explain that the skating community on campus has been growing steadily for years.
Joaquin Garcia, an FLC junior who has been skating since fifth grade, said that in his time at Fort Lewis he has always felt a sense of community and people to help him grow in the skating world.
Ali Doumbia, an FLC senior who has been skating for five years, was challenged by a friend to learn to do a kickflip.
Jay Hall, an FLC junior who has been skating for a year said that he feels like skating with others helps to speed up the learning process.
Jeff Dupont, the dean of student engagement at FLC, said that the faculty had seen this community of skaters that Hull, Borer, Garcia, Doumbia and Hall had recognized, as well.
The goal of the skatepark started to gain momentum when Hull got the chance to talk with Dupont. Hull told Dupont that his and Borer’s ultimate goal in creating Extreme Concrete Sports was to design and create the park.
Dupont agreed that there should be one but didn't want to do a full concrete skatepark, as he thought that was too much for the school to commit to at the time, he said.
With a full concrete skatepark out of the question, Borer and Hull allowed Dupont to work on the administrative side, while the duo continued running Extreme Concrete Sports.
An idea came to Dupont while he was visiting Portland State University and saw a do-it-yourself skate park full of students, he said.
A DIY skatepark is where all the elements are above ground and are made usually of wood or metal, so skaters can move and shift around the elements as they please.
Dupont realized that this design would be much easier and realistic for FLC to implement and brought the idea to FLC administrators, he said. FLC administrators said that FLC could not create any of this without student input, Dupont said.
Dupont went to Hull and Borer and asked if they would be interested in a DIY skatepark, and the duo said they were all in.
The three began working to secure a location, funding, and a design.
For the location, it was decided that the best spot would be the old tennis courts located behind the Student Life Center.
This was after other locations were suggested, including the sidewalk and asphalt space near the Peace Park, half of the basketball court on the east side of campus, and parking lot space on the north end of campus.
Dupont said that although these are ruled out at the moment does not mean they are ruled out entirely and the skatepark may be moved to one of the locations eventually.
Funding was the next step. The group discussed methods of funding and even brought it up to the Associated Students of Fort Lewis College, the student government, Dupont said.
Aria Swenk, the vice president of Associated Students of Fort Lewis College, said that ASFLC discussed funding for the skate park and were discussing it with Student Services. ASFLC’s intention was to put a resolution forward.
However, Dupont ultimately decided to use roll-forward funds from Student Engagement, securing $20,000 for the park, he said.
According to Hull and Borer, the design they chose will feature rails, quarter pipes, grind boxes, and even an actual halfpipe. Hull and Borer's goal with the design was to get elements and features that were for every skater’s level and style.
Everything for the DIY skatepark arrived on March 31. The next day, 14 members of Extreme Concrete Sports began setting it up. All the elements came as just boards and screws and had to be put together. There was no short supply of people to help.
Dupont said that he really enjoyed working with Hull and Borer and saw their passion for the project, which inspired him to do everything he could to see it through.
“Don't be bashful with thoughts and ideas with what we could be doing to energize students on campus,” Dupont said.
As for Hull and Borer, they said they are both excited to see the skate community grow and flourish on campus.