MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI -- The Station Skate Park was recently renovated with safety being given the highest priority.
"We renovated the park because the old ramps and jumps were outdated and unsafe," said Bobby Brown, Semper Fit athletics director. "We added new and larger obstacles to improve the park and make it more up-to-date, to match the United States" skateboard facilities. We've had great feedback from the kids in the community so far."
Approximately 26,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year with skateboard related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission..
Sprains, fractures, contusions and abrasions are the most common types of injuries. Even deaths have been reported due to collisions with cars and from falls.
"When using Skate Park, all skaters must wear protective equipment, including helmets, elbow pads, kneepads and wristguards," said Brown. "We wanted a fun place for our youth, but we refused to compromise on the safety issue."
A balancing act had to be done during the planning phase to make the park both fun and safe for all users.
?I had to do my homework," said Don West, Marine Corps Community Services architecture and design engineer. "I looked through different skate parks on the Internet and magazines to get a good idea of what kind of obstacles they were using. Then I put together those ideas, plus the ideas that the skaters gave me, and came up with the size of the jumps and ramps, and the layout of the park itself."
West came up with the final plan this summer, and gave the project to Gordon Chambers, MCCS Maintenance Shop head.
Chambers took the plans and got his maintenance workers on it right away.
The MCCS Maintenance Shop worked in conjunction with Delinda Piatt, MCCS Environmental safety specialist, throughout the entire construction of the obstacles.
"We made sure it was all safe, and we even added plastic pipes to the top of the fence for added safety," said Stacy Jarrin, MCCS Maintenance Shop service desk coordinator. "It is important to stay safe in everything we do, especially when it comes to our future assets, the children."