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Mike Slagle Promoted!

We are pleased to share that Mike Slagle is being promoted to Project Manager, Landscape Architecture! Mike has done a great job following through on projects from beginning to end, leading subconsultant meetings, and coordinating with subconsultants. He provides clients with detailed design, construction documentation, and construction administration for their projects. 

Mike is prepared to apply his managerial skills to mentor and help guide staff. Fully engaged in a busy team, we are pleased that Mike has stepped up to tackle this new role, adding capabilities to meet increasing landscape architecture projects.  Congratulations Mike!

Kacie Jane Park Ribbon Cutting

Yesterday, The Kleingers Group attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Kacie Jane Park in Springboro that pays tribute to the memory of Kacie Jane and her father Tom. Our team provided the master planning and construction documentation for this 4,000 SF splash park. This is our first big splash pad and features 15 different spray group activities. The Mayor, City Council members, Clearcreek Township officials, Springboro Chamber, and the Hausfeld Family celebrated the dedication of the park to the City. This project is building a better community by providing a space for other families to have fun and laugh together. Phase 2 of incorporating playgrounds will be constructed next year.

 

Linking Real-World Engineering Problems to K-12 Educators & UC CEEMS

Studies have shown for decades that the integration of STEAM programs within K-12 education is important to the development of students. These programs are designed to set up children earlier with a strong understanding of STEAM skills, while cultivating students as a future interest for national economic prosperity.

Over the past several years Steve Korte, Group Leader for Kleingers’ Southwest Ohio Institutional Group, has volunteered in many ways for the University of Cincinnati CEEMS program. The Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Mathematics and Science Program (CEEMS) is led by the University of Cincinnati in partnership with 14 Cincinnati-area school districts. One of the main goals of UC’s CEEMS program is “real world applications: connections to engineering,” and the classroom presentations provide great linkage for the students in understanding how the subjects they are learning apply to the “real world.”

During the program, teachers design a challenged-based learning activity to engage their students in decision making, strategic planning and evaluate plan revisions. At the end of each session, participating teachers are given the opportunity to present their final “units,” displays and videos for judging. Steve served as a volunteer judge during the Closing Day Showcase earlier this month, providing constructive feedback and guidance to the educators.

“As a graduate of the UC College of Engineering, I take tremendous pride in being able to connect back via CEEMS,” says Steve. “It is a great way for me to give back to my community all while educating the stewards for the next generation of engineers” he continues.

The Oak Hills School District, Steve’s alma mater, is a partner in the CEEMS program. “Many of my formal education worlds come together through the CEEMS program. I have been able to take back my professional experience and college education at UC to teach students about how math and science really come together. I even had the opportunity to present at Delhi Middle School, my old stomping grounds,” Steve shared.

Through many years of volunteering, Steve has grown many relationships with teachers and administrators in the Cincinnati area, which has led to several classroom presentations to middle school and high school math/science students. Steve has also sat on numerous panels in an open forum with math and science teachers to discuss what engineering companies are looking for in college graduates (technical skill sets, software programs and soft skills).

“As a group of engineers, surveyors and landscape architects who use math, arts and sciences every day, it is important to myself and others at Kleingers to educate teachers. Giving teachers the tools to explain real-life applications and how STEAM subjects impact their students’ future careers is huge,” says Steve.


To learn more about the University of Cincinnati’s CEEMS program, visit their website: http://ceas.uc.edu/special_programs/ceems/CEEMS_Home.html

Learn more about the “Closing Day Showcase” here: http://ceas.uc.edu/news-1314/ceems-closing-day-showcase-facilitates-promising-classroom-resul.html

 

10 Things to Consider When Planning a Sports Park

It’s not every day that an Owner takes on planning a 100+ acre sports park, but when the scenario arises, The Kleingers Group brings proven experience to the team. Over the years, Kleingers has designed a number of large-scale sports parks and has found that many of the same considerations tend to come up during our design process. We would like to share with you what to consider before you take on your sports park design.

1. Connect to Existing Community Assets

Creating transportation linkages to other community resources such as parks, schools, YMCAs, and more will encourage participation at the new development. Pursue ways to blend the new park with its surroundings and work with neighbors and stakeholders to build support for the project. Leverage connections through existing infrastructure like trailways, complete streets, and other multi-modal systems will provide easy access for bicyclists and pedestrians who visit the facility.

2. Create a Site that is Safe, Easy to Use, and Navigate

Speaking of connecting the site with pedestrians, it’s also important to design ways to keep them safe, especially from vehicular traffic. Maintain separate vehicle travel zones and pedestrian travel zones when possible and provide for safe and clearly marked crosswalks to help minimize conflicts. Branding, wayfinding, and creative use of landscape theming will help visitors with vehicles travel to their destination within the site more efficiently while minimizing user frustration.

Oftentimes, large sports complexes lack adequate wayfinding due to oversight or budget concerns. Proper wayfinding design can help users get to where they need to be while also creating a recognizable brand for the sports park and the associated owner.

3. All Sports Park Owners are in the Parking Business

Did you know that many competitive organizations that bring tournaments to sports parks require minimum parking per event? Organizers hosting tournaments require anywhere between 50-100 spaces per field, some require even more. Believe it or not, sports park owners are in the parking business. Visitors have high expectations that parking should be easy and accessing their field shouldn’t be a hassle. Tournament organizers must meet the demands of their clients, which means balancing the site’s infrastructure is important to everyone’s bottom line. Planning for enough parking close to destination points within the design allows for better traffic flow and provides better ADA access throughout the site.  The site layout needs to balance ease of access without being interrupted by large parking areas, or losing the vibrancy of an active and energized park.

4. Plan for Flexibility: Master Planning the Site for Optimum Use

Creating a park with the most flexible layouts will mean more options for end-users. Engineering the field grading is a key component. Fields should be carefully engineered to accommodate high-end games and large events with the ability to host smaller games within the same space without compromising the playable area, including crowns and field orientation.

Master planning a complex for multiple sports provides flexibility when attracting special events. Understanding how to plan for and design sports parks for flexibility amongst sports, whether soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby, Australian football, ultimate frisbee, baseball, softball, or cricket will attract a larger audience. Knowledge of national sports trends will allow the field designer to guide a client through the planning stages while meeting their needs and measured desires within the area.

5. Coordinate with Local Municipalities

Working with local interests and shareholders during the design process helps to ensure that everyone has a voice in the process of designing the sports park. Creating opportunities for partnerships early will help generate buy-in from key stakeholders and community members. Our experience in working through this relationship helps guide programming, affordability, and ultimately desired priorities.

6. Plan for Extra Traffic in the Area

More often than not, any new development brings additional traffic to a site. Traffic engineers can provide traffic studies to better understand current traffic conditions and anticipated changes and recommendations.

7. Sports Engineering is Key: Grading, Drainage & Field Performance Will Keep Them Coming Back

Creating space for tournaments is big business and retaining that business helps any sports park be successful. If the grading, slopes, drainage, playing surfaces, and other amenities are not designed properly, tournament organizations will take their business down the road to the competing sports park. Competitive organizations have a business to run and their business model depends on feedback from players and parents who use the fields, facilities, and park amenities at these events. Positive survey feedback will increase the chances that they return again for another event.

8. Plan for Attendees Who are not Players or Spectators

A large portion of the sports park business is creating a fun and comfortable experience for attendees. Creating spaces, such as playgrounds, within eyesight of a group of playing fields keeps that family with one child playing in the game and another bored on the sideline entertained and comfortable. Providing a trail system allows for visitors to take a break between tournament games, connect to another game across the complex, or meander to a ‘hub’ with concessions and restrooms nearby. Trails also appeal to pedestrians and bicyclists across the community.

9. Create a Space for Vendors

An often-overlooked element of the sports complex business is providing adequate space for vendors who are often on hand during a sporting event selling sports equipment, promotional items, and more to parents and other attendees. Creating ‘vendor zone’ spaces convenient to tournament sites is a key selling point to those looking to bring competition to the area.

10. Plan for Championships and Celebrations

Another trend in design that we see is the inclusion of championship fields. These higher-quality fields, sometimes utilizing synthetic turf, are designed with more seating and are typically located in prominent areas of the complex to draw more crowds as competitions wind down. Additionally, we see the integration of amphitheater spaces where teams celebrate their accomplishments with awards ceremonies.

Summary

These design considerations are a fraction of the items to explore when creating a sports park. At Kleingers/Sportworks, we understand the business of sports parks, the competition that takes place inside and outside the park, and the investment owners take in creating these opportunities for revenue. We also understand good engineering, traffic, sports field engineering, survey and landscape design, and the importance of getting all of these things done right for the bottom line and ultimate success of any sports park complex.