A place of their own
Skateboarders look to new facility to enjoy their passions
If you build it, they will come.
Snowflex, frisbee golf, paintball fields, tennis courts, a new football stadium and now Liberty University is adding skate park to their long list of student-oriented amenities.
“This is a big deal for skaters. We can’t skate (on campus) without breaking the rules,” Liberty student Miles Dyson said.
Skating on campus has become an issue, Dyson said. Students have nowhere free and legal to skate or BMX.
A group of students including Dyson, Matt Simpson and Seth Pryor have been involved in the planning and facilitating of the skate park since its beginning stages.
“When we approached the Chancellor, we didn’t have any intent of pitching the idea of a skate park to him, it sort of just happened,” Dyson said. “At first we thought they (the administration) were kidding about it.”
The nearest skate park to Liberty is currently located in downtown Lynchburg, about 15 minutes off campus and costs students $5.
The location of the new facility will be announced soon, but the students are already beginning to stir excitement surrounding the new park.
“The great thing about this park is that it will not only be free to students, but because it is indoors, it allows us to skate whenever we want — rain or shine,” Dyson said.
Joel Olenik, chief carpenter for the project, said that although the students designed the original plans, the final blueprints are a collaboration of his design and theirs.
“We both had a lot of ideas about what the final product should look like. In the end it is a compromise between the two, and I think everyone will be pleased,” Olenik said.
With the help of Liberty’s cabinet shop led by Dave Morgan, Olenik hopes the first of three stages will be completed within the next two weeks.
The first stage of construction includes two half pipes which will be connected by a spine.
The future stages include a foam pit as well as a “street” section.
“You can do things at a skate park that you can’t do anywhere else. It gives you freedom to push the limits (without pushing the law),”Pryor said.
Having a background in skating and constructing skate parks, Olenik said he was thrilled when he was approached about the project.
“I worked on a skate park for Hyland Heights, and it was a blast. Being invested in something you love makes the experience great,” Olenik said. “It is awesome to know what your doing will be enjoyed.”
Liberty offered to fund the project’s construction, ensure the facility is prepared for the traffic it will be receiving and also to staff the facility once it is completed.
“Our job is to create excitement and to furnish the place. We have to get the students to come, then we will be able to move forward and get more assistance with making the place look perfect,” Pryor said.
Students will be able to sit on an upper deck and enjoy watching fellows classmates skate and BMX, or try it themselves, said Dyson.
“For now all we can do is wait and see who shows up. Hopefully, we will get a lot of different varieties of riders and viewers,” Simpson said.
For more information about the future skate park, contact Student Activities.