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Concrete Paving Stones on Campus

By Tracy Mangess, Pavestone Company






Left: The paver applications at Southern Methodist University (SMU) are a great example of how pave stones can be utilized on a school campus. Stones of blended red and charcoal colors were used throughout the campus, broken up by stones in a color called Castone, which were used as column delineation to emphasize major entrances.

Right: Pavers lend themselves to unique designs that cannot be matched by other applications. Here, the SMU mascot, a pony, is immortalized near the school stadium. The designer used a high-end exposed aggregate segmental paver finish with white- and rose-colored quartex to create the picture.



Top designers, worldwide, have long recognized concrete paving stones as an aesthetically pleasing, structurally sound alternative to poured in place concrete and asphalt. The use of paving stones on schools and college campuses is especially appealing because they can bring large, expansive areas down to a smaller, more human scale.






In all, over 10,000 square feet of Pavestone interlocking pavers were installed at SMU. The applications include the two main vehicular thoroughfares leading into the stadium, as well as pedestrian traffic areas around the stadium. Surfaces covered with pavers lend themselves to a less-costly maintenance program. Their structural strength makes them an ideal choice for high-traffic roads and individual pavers can be replaced with little hardship or cost to the campus; whereas concrete or asphalt surface replacement is lengthy and more expensive.


The following three colleges sing the praises of paving stones and what they have done to enhance their campuses, both structurally and aesthetically.

Johnson County Community College - Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College (JCCC) has enjoyed tremendous growth since moving to its current location in 1972. Recognizing the growth to come, the college began developing a Landscape Master Plan in the late 1980s.

According to Gerald Baird, the executive vice president of administrative services, “Chief among our objectives for the Landscape Master Plan was to find a replacement for the existing exposed aggregate pavement in the interior courtyards.

It was cracking and heaving, which not only caused safety concerns but was becoming expensive to repair and maintain.” He also says that because the college was working on a budget, any improvements would have to be made in phases; so the new pavement would have to be conducive to phased construction.

Over the past 15 years, seven designers have been involved in seven phases at the college. Concrete pave stones allowed each designer to add their own distinct touch to their phase of the project, while still maintaining the continuity and spirit of the Landscape Master Plan. Some designers used contrasting colors to break up large expanses of pavement, some used different shapes to create study and seating areas, and some used laying patterns to direct pedestrian traffic flow.

The result is a beautiful, peaceful campus.

“While snow and ice removal were one of initial concerns, it has proven to be no problem at all. We use brushes on John Deere mowers to remove snow and this works extremely well for us. When we do have ice conditions we use a calcium chloride deicer,” says Wayne Busse, manager of maintenance operations.

Jim Freed, director of facility planning, explains “Concrete pave stones met all of our criteria and as a result we have used them on seven phases since 1990. These phases amount to somewhere around 100,000 square feet of pavers. We only budget about $1,500 a year for maintenance, which includes paying outside contractors to remove and replace pavers, due to repair of existing utilities.

The former director of campus services, John Skubal, sums up the decision for choosing concrete pavers when he says, “Aesthetics was only the icing on the cake. We made our decision to use pave stones based on structural integrity and maintainability.”

William Jewell College - Liberty, MO

William Jewell College (Jewell) first used concrete paving stones in the campus quad area in 1993. Norm Boos, director of facilities management, says pavers were the right choice to achieve the look they were going for. “William Jewell was established in 1849, so it is important that all improvements to the campus compliment our rich history. Changing to concrete pave stones achieved the traditional, consistent look we needed,” he says. “We have four phases of concrete paver installations on campus, including the President's residence, which totals about 60,000 square feet. Realm Construction has not only installed, but also worked with us to design all of the phases. This process has worked well for us and saved us money.”

Bob Feltenberger, of Realm Construction, agrees and says, “Our long-standing relationship with the college allows for open, direct communication with them. This really helps the jobs move quickly and smoothly which, of course, reduces construction costs.” The contractor also crafted Jewell's logo into the quad area pavement by using contrasting paver colors and making very precise cuts into the pavement. This detail calls special attention to this central space on campus.

University Of Nebraska - Lincoln, NE

The University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) completed its first two concrete pave stone installations in the summer of 2004 at Selleck Dinning Hall and Ruth Staples Child Development Center. Dennis Scheer, senior principal at The Clark Enersen Group, says “We always consider unit pavers as our primary (pavement) design option. Unit pavers help us enrich the spaces we create.”

The university’s standard for sidewalk pavements is concrete. In the beginning, the owners expressed some concern over introducing a “new” pavement to the campus; however, once they were made aware of the pavement's structural integrity, its ability to spread loads and the ease with which it is maintained, their concerns faded.

The Selleck Dining Hall project was a remodel and the new design pushed the structure out into the existing street /sidewalk approach, which appeared very utilitarian. According to Sheer, Clark Enersen wanted to transition the approach into a more pedestrian character environment. He felt paving stones were the natural choice to help them meet this objective. Paving stones also helped them delineate between the pedestrian and vehicular uses of the pavement by simply changing colors and laying patterns.

Jim Linhart, of Linhart Construction, says his company has been using paving stones for over 15 years. Linhart says the ease of installation allows his crews to meet and exceed their schedules, which is always important to the customer, and was even more so on this project because it had to be finished before students returned in the fall.

The Ruth Staples Child Development project (also designed by The Clark Enersen Group) demanded a completely different character, and pave stones offered up just the right scale and texture for tricycle “roads” that wind through the cityscape design of the playground area.

Scheer says that working with a contractor who has been through the Interlocking Concrete Paver Institute (ICPI) Certification process is important to him because there are certain aspects of paver installation that draw on expertise not found in experience alone. “We will continue to consider pavers as a primary design option to help us create the beautiful spaces we envision,” he says.

From preserving the rich historical campus architecture, to immortalizing the mascot in a large pavement design, concrete pave stones have become a design staple in hardscape solutions for universities. The extensive selection of paving stone shapes, colors and textures provides a seamless interface of design and functionality in creating campus ambiance.



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December 7, 2019, 3:50 am PDT

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