R.C.S. Construction Upgrades Robbinsdale Park Alongside Drainage Project
A Two for One Deal: R.C.S. Construction Updates Park for Rapid City Community After Needed Drainage Improvements
Prompted by needed improvements to the Rapid City’s drainage system, a $4.7 million project also upgraded Robbinsdale Park in the South Dakota community.
“The most interesting part was the variety of work,” says Evan Walterman, Project Manager and Estimator for R.C.S. Construction in Rapid City. “The project was driven primarily by grading and heavy civil improvements, but it also added the baseball fields, a BMX track, and four city blocks of utility and road work.”
The East Idaho, East Nevada, Ivy Street and Utility Reconstruction and Meade/Hawthorne Drainage Element 221 Improvements project included installation of 336 lineal feet of 7-foot by 4-foot box culverts, a massive storm sewer impact basin, and more than 100,000 cubic yards of grading to construct a new detention cell, which can hold nearly 1.5 million cubic feet of water from southern Rapid City.
“The existing cell was not up to snuff in terms of capacity and hundreds of trees had grown in the bottom of the pond over time,” Walterman explains. Those trees could have uprooted and washed downstream, potentially putting homes at risk.
RCS also reconstructed at the park a 1-mile paved walking path, built three new Little League baseball fields, and designed and constructed a new track and concession building for Rapid City BMX, a racing track, delivered under a design-build contract.
RC Scull, Vice President of RCS, credits a team approach with the successful completion. Representatives from the project’s owners the City of Rapid City and Rapid City Parks and Recreation met weekly and worked collaboratively with RCS, as did the consultants and subcontractors.
“If we ran into a problem, we were able to work through it quickly,” Walterman says.
The project received the Associated General Contractors of South Dakota Build South Dakota Award Category II Award and the Construction Industry Center Master Craftsmen Award for CSI Division 2 – Sitework and Utilities.
“We’re proud to do what we can to improve our community and make our parks and residential areas better,” Walterman says.
RCS began construction on the park in the spring of 2017 and completed it in May 2018. Crews worked throughout the winter.
Weather challenges persisted through the project as the area experienced an unusually heavy rainy season. That required dewatering and pumping in the park, running 24-7 to keep the excavation area dry.
“We were constantly moving water around,” Walterman recalls. “Water was a challenge throughout the project.”
To protect the environment, RCS used silt fencing; wattles, which are wood chips wrapped in fabric; and inlet protection to keep the stormwater controlled. The water passes through the wattle and traps silt.
RCS used a GPS-equipped dozer and Bobcat in the park to ensure critical grades within the detention cell and at the Little League ball fields.
“It improved our ability to get everything on grade and fine-tuned,” Walterman says. “With 26 acres disturbed, having GPS built into the machine vs. round after round of grading and checking, saved us time and manpower. We got to grade in a couple of passes.”
Additional work in the park included relocating baseball fields, rebuilding a walking trail and replacing the BMX track. Original plans called for relocating the BMX storage and concession stand, but RCS soon learned that dated facility was not meeting BMX’s needs. RCS worked with Rapid City BMX to come up with a building design that suited its needs. The cost of this building was higher than the existing budget, but RCS agreed to cover the difference in order to make the building a reality.
Three days after the substantial completion of the park portion of the project, a 100-year rain event occurred, which inundated the community. Water ran down the roads, sweeping up debris and even a car, which blocked the trash grates on the newly installed inlet structure. The pond reached capacity and water was discharging over the emergency spillway.
“With all that debris, it overwhelmed the trash grates and plugged them up, so the water going out could not keep up with the water coming in,” Walterman says.
Perry Van De Steeg, an RCS Superintendent, was concerned about the damage the storm might do and drove by the site. Seeing the water level so high, he contacted other RCS personnel and emergency first responders. All evening, they tried to clear the trash grates, which were under about 10 feet of water, without success. RCS brought in two 6-inch pumps to help bring the water level down. With the light of day the next morning, crews were successful in knocking the grate loose and removing the debris. The water lowered to a safe level.
Replacing Roads and Utilities
In February 2018, the company started on the street work and completed it in November 2018. The work included the reconstruction of utilities, roads, sidewalks and driveways.
RCS placed temporary gravel down, so residents could still access and leave their homes. The temporary gravel was removed and replaced with new base course to create the foundation for the new roads. The company worked with the homeowners to keep them informed if they would not be able to use their driveway and when utility services were interrupted.
A Culture of Safety
A family owned and operated business, RCS was started as a small general construction company in 1992 by Bob Scull, who remains President. The company has grown during those years and now handles large projects in the Black Hills area of South Dakota.
RC Scull began working for the company after graduation with a civil engineering bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in construction management.
Safety is a priority for RCS. During the project, team members participated in daily huddles, toolbox talks, and discussions of upcoming hazards and how to avoid them. It paid off.
“It’s our company culture,” Walterman says. “We are always looking for ways to make the work as safe as possible.”
RCS crews worked more than 28,000 manhours without any lost time accidents or injuries.
“We are fortunate to work in Rapid City and the surrounding municipalities, and RCS is committed to helping grow and enhance the Black Hills area,” Scull says. “We have several large commercial buildings and road/utility projects and are excited for another strong year.”
Photos courtesy of R.C.S. Construction