The University of British Columbia has opened the first campus skatepark in North America, giving students, campus residents and Metro enthusiasts a new place to get radical on their skateboards, BMX bikes and rollerblades.
The UBC Skatepark, made of concrete and galvanized steel, offers a range of jumps, banks and obstacles for riders of various skill levels, from beginner to expert. Key park features include an open snake-run bowl, a cantilevered quarterpipe, an angled slappy bank, and stair set, complete with handrail and ledge.
“The UBC Skatepark is an exciting new outdoor space,” said Carole Jolly, UBC Campus and Community Planning’s Director of Transportation. “We have a large number of skateboarders and other action sport enthusiasts on campus and we had a unique opportunity to provide them, and the greater community, with a dynamic new space.”
The skatepark’s most distinctive feature is a stack of large books made of concrete and steel, which riders can shred, grind and jump off and onto. This one-of-a-kind feature reflects UBC’s academic environment and is engraved with a fitting quote: “One must work and dare if one really wants to live,” from Vincent Van Gogh.
The nearly $500,000 project is a partnership between UBC and the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) – which represents the growing campus population of 18,000 residents. Development of the park included significant consultation with the community and UBC Athletics.
“This project sprang from UBC and the UNA respectfully listening to our constituents,” says Dr. Erica Frank, a UBC professor of public health and UNA board member. “They now have a safe new place to have fun and be active. It’s going to bring a lot of people an awful lot of joy.”
The UBC Skatepark is located on the Vancouver campus at the intersection of Thunderbird Boulevard and Health Sciences Mall, about five minutes from the UBC bus loop.
Built beside an outdoor basketball court, the UBC Skatepark completes a block of recreation infrastructure, including the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and UBC Tennis Centre
The UBC Skatepark is the latest of several new completed skateparks in the region. Vancouver has nine or more designated skateboard areas, including last year’s Mount Pleasant Park at 16th and Ontario St. There are more than 120 skateparks across B.C., including some 50 across Metro Vancouver.
UBC is creating a sustainable residential community where more than 18,000 students, staff, faculty and other residents live, work and learn together. UBC provides more student housing than any university in Canada.
The UBC Skatepark has a sustainable stormwater management system that collects and stores rainwater to irrigate nearby plants and help reduce campus erosion. The plants will help treat the water before it returns to UBC’s water system.
Main image: Jamil Rhajiak