Skateboarders seek to build venue

October 31, 2007

by Amelie Miltenberger

Ryan Ball and Rodney Smith had a dream, and now, through Tech, they can see that dream becoming a reality.

Skateboarding fanatics, these two students were disappointed upon arriving at Tech and finding there is no outlet for their favorite pastime.

“I came up here not knowing anybody, so I didn’t skate at all,” said Ball, a junior photography major.

“Then I met a couple people who skated, and it was fun for the first five minutes till we ran out of places to skate and receptive townspeople.”

Ball said the problem is there are strict rules about skateboarding on campus and around Ruston.

Smith, a sophomore photography major, said, “When I came to school, I tried skating in at least six different places on and around campus, all of which I was shot down by school staff or city officials.”

Smith said he found plenty of skateboarders but the problem remained.

“The missing link in all this is a place to skate,” Smith said.

Ball said that is when he and Smith met up with the Assistant Director of Intramurals Robert Dowling.

“We knew we had a large group of skaters on campus,” Dowling said. “The biggest problem is they need a location to skate.”

He said all recreational sports are needed and he is interested in branching out to cater to different students’ preferred pastimes.

“We want all the students to have a place to pursue their sport,” Dowling said.

Dowling and the student skateboarders plan to build an attachment to the Maxie Lambright Intramural Sports Center and turn it into a skate park.

“We’re shooting for a concrete skate park,” Ball said.

He also said he hopes for a see-through type of fence, so that outsiders can see what’s going on inside and get excited.

Dowling said, “We are still in the planning stages. We feel we have a good location. We are meeting with skate park designers to get a feel for how much our park will cost.”

Smith said he thinks other skateboarders can have an impact on how fast this project is completed.

“If the skateboarders would rise up and call SGA and the Intramural Center and show that the interest is there, the process will speed up,” Smith said.

As for right now, Smith, Ball and other skate-happy students are using one of the racquetball courts in the Intramural Center as a mini-park. Ball said anywhere from two to 10 boards are whizzing around the court at any given time.

“We want to be able to skate in a cool place and not get in anyone’s way,” Ball said.

Smith said, “My vision for the skate park is that all of the boarders here would come together and have a place to skate that’s close to campus.”
“It’s an amazing pastime and a common ground for interactions, even in college.”

Dowling said Smith and Ball deserve credit for the effort they are putting into this project.

“I feel these two students are to be congratulated for their hard work and desire to see a skate park built on campus,” said Dowling.
“If they had not taken the time to come and see me, we would never even consider building a skate park.”

“We try and look at everything the students want and then make it a reality.”