When Dan Anderson, owner of Anderson Concrete in Coal City, Ill. was considering his bid for a school parking lot in rural Livingston County, Ill. he saw an opportunity to educate the school district on the advantages of using concrete. Woodland Community School District # 5, located 4 miles south of Streator, Ill., had plans to pour concrete on the heavy traffic lanes and to use asphalt on the lighter traffic areas. Mr. Anderson explained the benefits of using concrete on the entire parking lot. Anderson, who has been contracting street paving and parking lots for over 18 years, stated “This looked like a good opportunity to convert a complete parking lot to concrete.”

School Superintendent Dr. Stephen L. Endress and job oversight manager Ralph Hermann were both impressed with Anderson’s presentation. Long term performance was something that Dr. Endress was looking for. “We want our capital investments to last” he stated. “We are replacing parking lots that were paved over 40 years ago.” The school district started in 1954 and covers 80 square miles. There are several school buses that cover the district, which made the heavy traffic lanes and turn around lanes for the buses a major concern for the school.

The project was originally slated to use asphalt with an alternate bid for heavy duty concrete for the bus lanes and turn around lanes. Dan Anderson provided an alternate bid for concrete on the medium duty areas, as well as the heavy duty areas. Anderson Concrete had the lowest bid and was accepted to include concrete as an alternative for the medium duty areas.

The parking lot was paved with 6.5 inches of concrete and the heavy areas were paved with 8 inches of concrete. The entire lot had a 6-inch rock base underneath the concrete. Illinois Department of Transportation specs were used on all of the concrete. A total of 2795 yards were poured with a broom finish. A conveyor was used to place the concrete so as not to disturb the subgrade.

The project also included new storm sewers incorporating retention design for handling storm water runoff. The school district was also looking at safety issues with the design of the parking lot. Dr. Endress commented, “We now have designated turn lanes to control traffic flow with exclusive student pick up lanes. Parking has been moved to the front of the building and also includes two main entrances at the front of the building. This allows us to control access to the building making it safer for students, teachers, and staff.”

The concrete for the project was supplied by Joe Hatzer and Sons Inc. out of Streator, Ill. Owner Denny Hatzer and his crew worked to make sure everything went smoothly. “I had to make sure that we could produce it and deliver it on a timely schedule.” The largest pour for a day was 300 yards and each pour started at 7:30 a.m. Hatzer was able to make all deliveries on time, as well as coordinate all other deliveries for the day. Dan Anderson was happy with the service that Hatzer provided. “Good service, a good product” and they were “right there” providing timely service.

As the new school year started, students and staff are using the new parking lots and buses are dropping off and picking up students in the newly paved bus lanes. The new concrete parking lot at Woodland Community School District, in rural Livingston County, is providing a long term parking solution to handle bus traffic, student parking, and storm water retention.

— Allan Anderson is a market manager for Buzzi Unicem USA Cement Company