05-12-22 | Feature

Local Sports Park Expansion

Decarksy Park broke ground in May 2019
by Nicholas Staib, Professional Engineering Consultants

Designed by Professional Engineering Consultants of Wichita, Kansas, the 30-acre Decarsky Sports Park in Derby, Kansas project site had formerly been a farm, limiting the design due to the existing drainage that flows through the use of detention areas and ponds. There is an existing neighborhood that abuts the property to the north, so the design team added LED sports lighting. The system provides a sharp cutoff and glare control, so the park does not light up anyone's backyard. The design used a woodland buffer along the north property line to provide more privacy. The entire project uses Kansas native plants to recreate a naturally occurring woodland. The hardscape was designed to be high impact design-wise while also low maintenance.
The sports complex was completed in phases between 2020 and 2021. This project features multi-functional spaces like a dog park, baseball and softball fields, and various amenities such as restrooms, parking lots, and seating areas
Pavers tie the entire design together with an eroding dark to light pattern. The 2' by 2' blue terrazzo pavers were installed on a concrete base. Terrazzo countertops were placed in both the interior and exterior of the concession stand for a cohesive design.
Standing at 30" tall, the CMU block wall includes a cast stone wall cap on top and a dugout screen of powder-coated aluminum. The custom fin design was implemented to allow for better airflow and a standing seam metal roof.
The sign's rust color is a design element used throughout the park as the second phase takes shape. The base of the sign is clad with a limestone veneer. When the grasses at the base grow and fill in, the sign will appear to be floating.
The design team created the pond adjacent to the dog park on the south side as a detention space to manage stormwater runoff. The decreased slope allows for a gentle entry. The pond features two above water fountains and has a series of 10 underwater bubblers/aerators that light up at night and change colors.
The dog park is broken up into three different yards- two 1.5-acre yards and a third small agility course that is about 3,000 square feet. The two large yards feature a dog bubbler/drinking fountain atop concrete surfacing with a footpad while the smallest yard includes a fully artificial turf surface using a dog turf product that allows drainage. The agility course was added to create a small course with a variety of activities. There is also a dock installed down the spine of the two large dog yards to allow dogs to practice dock diving/retrieving. The fencing is a black PVC coated chain link fence in the two large yards and the small agility course features an ornamental aluminum fence.
Running east to west, this entry plaza was designed to provide a multifunctional space during tournaments at the facility. When tournaments are hosted here, the teams have a space they can set up tents for the weekend. The grid-like layout down the center of the plaza was designed to emphasize the linear link down the ballpark. When phase two is installed, this area will be the back entrance. The grid paver pattern was also a way to show where the major circulation path would occur. The Wausau Tile pavers are medium gray, beige, light gray, and dark gray, along with the blue terrazzo paver.
Curving paths inside the two large dog yards lead to a bubbler that was added to the design to act as a drinking water feature for dogs. The small agility yard is an oval-shaped green space at the entrance surrounded by concrete. There is also a turf berm in the entry plaza area- providing a circular path around the entry plaza area in case there is an aggressive dog. It is important to provide circular paths so other dogs and owners can walk around and not be trapped in a space.

Through a generous donation of 63 acres of land by Vicki Decarsky, Decarksy Park broke ground in May 2019 with anticipated excitement for all the amenities it would soon have to offer Derby, Kansas.

The Decarsky Park Sports Complex design includes eight ball fields, concessions, restrooms, the first dog park in Derby, and stormwater management constructed on the park in Derby, Kansas.
Parking, concession, and restroom areas also include shade trees and a walking path. The project features field orientations that maximize sun orientation, a central parking area, and open spaces for setting up tents during tournaments.

In 2013, Derby voters passed the Derby Difference Sales Tax to fund $7.1 million for the 30-acre renovations in Phase 1. The budget included the construction of four ballfields, a dog park, streets, two new public streets, Line Drive and Rover Lane, signalized intersection, gateway sign, two parking lots, entry plaza, concession stand with restrooms, shade structures, picnic shelter, two batting cages, maintenance shop, stormwater retention pond, water service, and a sanitary sewer.

In addition to the sales tax voted in by residents, additional donations were made to create the multi-use dog and ballpark.
Once funds were raised, the design began in 2017, led by Nick Staib, RLA of Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC). Multicon Construction of Wichita, Kansas was an integral part of the development process and delivered the park on budget in the Fall of 2020.

Discussions began between City Parks and Derby Recreation Commission (DRC) staff to develop an operating agreement to present to the City Council and DRC. Phase 2 was envisioned to encompass 33 acres to the west, but no timeline or funding source had yet been identified. Additionally, four more ballfields, concession stands, restrooms, a parking lot, and a pond were needed.

The first completed endeavor was the 3-acre dog park that included large and small dog yards, trees, a "penalty box", water bubblers, a washing station, shade structures, benches, limestone blocks, and a dock. The dog park features an agility course with six obstacles and artificial turf with AlphaSan antimicrobial technology, which deters the growth of microbes.


The yards were designed to prevent entrapment corners for dogs should they become aggressive. So, an entry into the plaza was split into two different access points to provide a bypass from an aggressive dog.

The Entry Plaza was designed to create a flexible space and enhance the user experience upon arrival to the park and includes many amenities and purposes. The space provides a staging area for sports teams to create a home base during weekend tournaments that are encompassed by high-impact plantings designed and installed throughout the Plaza. The walkway was created utilizing a combination of pavers, blue glass pavers, limestone blocks, and colored concrete, complemented by aesthetic night lighting.

Park Amenities
Each park amenity was thoughtfully designed to ensure cleanliness and safety, such as an agility course clad with an artificial turf yard that was irrigated to allow for accessibility. The pond dock is equipped with a dog ladder and solar-powered LED lights to indicate the edge of the gangway and dock. The space was designed with the intention of dogs to practice retrieving and jumping off the dock. The pond is intended and designed for stormwater retention purposes. There is also an above-water fountain and below-water aerators in the pond to assist in creating a healthy pond.

Ballfield Amenities
The sleek concession stand is climate controlled and includes a public address system, three restrooms with changing stations, vandalism-resistant partitions, and countertop and tile walls.

The concession stand is surrounded by a tournament entry station, outdoor seating comprised of six tables, high-top seating with eight stools and USB ports for phone charging, a drinking fountain/hose, and high qualify terrazzo countertops to deter vandalism.

North of the ballfields is the maintenance shop measuring 60' by 40'. It is comprised of a post-framed unit which is gas heated and consists of a restroom/shower and dumpster storage.

All these amenities would be muted without proper landscaping. PEC designed landscaping to flow with the natural surroundings and elevations by over 200 trees featuring 27 species of all native or adaptive plants to Kansas' extreme temperatures. A large number of trees allow for screening to the north of the ball and dog park. Pond aeration and aesthetics were enhanced with two 5hp fountains with lights and bubblers.

Ballfields were specifically designed for all-age softball and 12u youth baseball. Three of the four ballfields are 230' at centerfield and the fourth is 250' at centerfield. Batting cages were also added to each ballfield, they measure 75' long and 30'6" wide with artificial turf. Latitude 36 Bermuda, which is grown locally, was sourced for the outfield grass. Sod was cut from the same crop as the Wind Surge Minor League Baseball stadium in Wichita and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

Spectator visibility being a large factor in a well-designed ballfield, chain link fence was passed over for netting to allow unobstructed views of games. The backstop and batting cage netting system is held up by four poles measuring 30' high. It was designed to be lowered during the harsh Kansas winter months to extend the life of the netting. State-of-the-art LED lighting allows for dimming lights post-game and was installed for greater visibility.

Another major focus of the design was accessibility, so the picnic shelter, shade structures, bleachers, and scorer boxes are all ADA accessible. Officials are equipped with wireless scoreboard controllers in the scorer boxes.
Conservation, durability, and preventive maintenance were important to the design plan and addressed in several ways. The concrete curb for the artificial turf nailer board to attach to is 12" wide and allows for future removal and replacement of the turf system without causing damage to the curb. Limestone walls are coated with an anti-graffiti sealant to assist in cleanup in the event of vandalism while drinking fountains are drained through a French drain system that allows unused water to leach back into the soil. Meanwhile, water hose bibs are located in the backstop wall and along the outfield fence to provide cooling; in the event, the turf builds up excessive heat.

The long-awaited Decarksy Dog Park & Ballpark finally came to fruition and officially opened on May 7, 2021.

Lead Firm: Professional Engineering Consultants, P.A.
Lead Designer/ Project Manager: Nick Staib, RLA
Owner: City of Derby- Contact- Steve White, Director of Parks
Contractor: Multicon Inc.


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