Revitalizing places: UGA students assist in redevelopment of Dublin, Georgia’s Stubbs Park

Students presenting a plan to othersThomas & Hutton served as a community partner for the University of Georgia College of Engineering Capstone Senior Design Project, overseeing civil engineering students apply their skills on a Thomas & Hutton project, the revitalization of The City of Dublin, Georgia’s Stubbs Park.

Thomas & Hutton was selected as a community partner, overseeing the work of senior civil engineering students, Joy Chapman, Kenneth Sanchez, and Nigel Wright. The trio selected Thomas & Hutton’s Stubbs Park redevelopment project, within the City of Dublin, as their Senior Capstone Project.

Thomas & Hutton previously assisted the City of Dublin in developing a master plan to expand the existing Stubbs Park into the former site of the demolished City of Dublin High School. The existing park is separated by roads and plagued by stream bank erosion. The concept plan includes two roundabouts, walking trails, a bandshell/performance area, and a multipurpose field. Roadway improvements surrounding the park are currently underway.

“I’ve worked on the Stubbs Park master planning with the City of Dublin on and off for over half of my professional career. When the opportunity arose for Thomas & Hutton to nominate a prospective capstone project for UGA’s engineering students, it immediately came to my mind. For the City of Dublin, they were able to further the preliminary design solutions for Stubbs Park which will provide them with very valuable information when pursuing funding opportunities for improvements. Joy, Kenneth, and Nigel were able to hone their design skills on a project that had multiple impacts and benefits to a community, while also furthering their people skills through leading monthly discussions that included City representatives, Nathan Long (T&H Project Manager/UGA alumni), and myself.” – Ryan Thompson, PLA, LEED AP (UGA ’01), Thomas & Hutton Principal/Landscape Architecture Department Manager

Joy, Kenneth, and Nigel worked alongside professional engineers and landscape architects from T&H learning essential skills needed for the “real-world,” including teamwork, creative problem solving, and cooperative collaboration. The rules and regulations of engineering were a major factor of the course, exposing students to the ethics, laws, and leadership required of them as they pursue the professional practice of engineering. The students produced a set of plans to revitalize the park, including water, sewer, stormwater, site grading, and erosion control measures. They also provided a cost estimate for various phases of the work. The City is planning to utilize their plans and information to assist with reviewing the project in hopes of implementing portions of the plan in the future.

“The partnership between the City of Dublin and the UGA Senior Design team with the help of Thomas and Hutton was mutually beneficial for all. The City received great ideas and insight on park improvements from young professionals while soon-to-be engineers received guidance and experience along the way that will surely put them ahead in their respective career choices. The ideas and visions shared with us by the students will provide a firm foundation to begin our master plans for the Stubbs Park area improvements.” – Mathew Bradshaw, PE , City of Dublin Director of Engineering

The students participated in site visits collecting survey data, observed existing conditions, and taking photos. They produced a written report and plan set as a part of their final project providing solutions for the eroded portions of the stream, re-routing the stream, and daylighting the portion of the stream that once ran under the abandoned high school.

“The Stubbs Park project served as an extraordinary opportunity. Working through the entirety of the design process of a civil project gave me insight into my future career. This project taught me plenty about collaboration and communication among team members and clients. I am so thankful to Thomas & Hutton and the City of Dublin to work on this community-impacting project.” – Nigel Wright (UGA ’22), Capstone Senior Design Student

Their plan presented the development in two phases: Phase I repairs the operational issues with the park, such as stream restoration and need for walking trails. The initial phase also includes the utilization of the existing topography to create a pond, complete with a trickling rock overflow, bridge crossing, and places for people to gather. Phase II entails the development of additional amenities and parking. The prioritized redevelopment process addresses the fundamental issues to allow pedestrians to enjoy the park more fully. Phase II includes an extending parking lot, amphitheater, playground, dog park, restroom building, and splash pad, as appropriate.

“I’m grateful to have this unique opportunity to work alongside Thomas & Hutton. This project allowed me to learn more in-depth details involved with site design and coordination with team members.” – Kenny Sanchez (UGA ’22), Capstone Senior Design Student

The students’ report detailed the jurisdictions having authority, relevant ordinances, hydrologic analysis, calculations, and cost estimates. Their site design addressed the main park elements including the stream, pond, trails, amenities, road construction, lighting, landscaping, and incorporation of an open field. The site design also addresses the concern of accessibility, existing utilities, and roadways. The suite of skills and practices exemplified are identical to those the students will be expected to perform as professionals in the engineering field. Their resulting recommendations emphasized the impact of the restoration of the stream to prevent future erosion and flooding, serve as a habitat, and improve park aesthetics. The students also provided recommendations on the addition of new amenities happening congruently with the expansion of amenities.

“This project was a wonderful learning experience. I selected Stubbs Park to learn about stream restoration design and this project allowed me to apply the knowledge I learned in my classes, while also teaching me about problem-solving for real-world situations. the revitalization of Stubbs Park will greatly benefit the Dublin community. I am thankful to Thomas & Hutton, the City of Dublin, and the different faculty members of UGA who all provided valuable feedback on our work and encouraged us throughout the design process.” – Joy Chapman (UGA ’22), Capstone Senior Design Student

Two of the three students are working for Thomas & Hutton as they begin their careers. Kenny Sanchez is a Summer Intern in the Buford Civil Department and Nigel Wright started full-time in June of 2022 as a Designer in the Savannah Civil Department.

“It has been rewarding to work with the UGA students and the City of Dublin on the revitalization of Stubbs Park project. Through this collaborative process, we understood the City’s needs and helped students obtain an overview of the design process. This experience was educational for all team members and provided the City with a framework to transform Stubbs Park into a place where people can gather and enjoy the outdoor setting by creating a water feature, multipurpose field, walking trails, restrooms, event space, and more.” – Nathan Long, PE, LEED AP (UGA ’01), Thomas & Hutton Principal/Project Manager

The University of Georgia College of Engineering produced 108 senior projects for the 2021-2022 academic year and continues to improve its program year after year. The projects were celebrated at the showcase for the community partners, clients, and University of Georgia College of Engineering community on April 28, 2022, and the final presentation with Thomas & Hutton and The City of Dublin was held on May 11, 2022. Thomas & Hutton is excited about continuing this collaboration with UGA and look forward to introducing more students to the company and their projects. Providing hands-on, immersive learning opportunities to students is a great way to see what the real world entails as they begin their careers.

By Chelsey Falb, Nathan Long, and Ryan Thompson of Thomas & Hutton (Original source)

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