Coastal Engineering Department responds to Student Government bill focusing on the old skate park

Alan Vargas

The old skatepark behind Lot 18. Photo by Alan Vargas.

For the Coastal Engineering Program, the old skate park is the key location for UNF’s one of a kind wave pool. This wave pool is essential for graduate research and is one out of three wave pools in the state. However, they were shocked to find out that Student Government has drafted legislation to evict them.

Student Body President Jenna DuPilka asked Senate to give an official opinion to remove the Coastal Biology Department from the old skate park. The major issue in the legislation is that the Coastal Biology Department isn’t using the skate park, it’s the Coastal Engineering masters program.

The SG bill states that the old skate park was funded by student paid Service and Activity fees which, according to SG’s website, supports student activities and support services.

“The Student Body President would like support from Senate in issuing a formal opinion of Student Government on the matter of the Coastal Biology Department not extending its presence at the area formally known as the ‘Skate Park’ past the month of August 2018,” the bill states.

The Coastal Engineering Program currently has a temporary wave pool on half of the old skatepark. The other half is used by Ogier Gardens for a compost pile. Recently, Spinnaker met a pair of Coastal Engineering staff who were building a concrete wave pool at the old skate park on the same day that the University and Student Affairs Committee forwarded the bill to Senate.

Ogier Garden’s compost. Photo by Alan Vargas.

“We were backed in a corner where we had to [build the wave pool] and we weren’t trying to disregard anything,” UNF Taylor Engineering Research Institute Director Donald Resio said. “I’ve got two students pursuing masters degrees and two parents that need critical data from the wave pool. I hope we can resolve the issue because another professor has a funded project ready to go for the wave pool.”

According to Resio, there are only three university wave pools in Florida between the University of Miami, Florida International and UNF.

“If we can keep it, it would become a very valuable asset,” Resio affirmed. “This program didn’t exist prior to 2011 and when I took the position as director, it was very difficult to find any space around the University. When we got to use the half of the space, I thought it was permanent but we realized after the fact that it wasn’t.

When asked what the Coastal Engineering Program will do if the legislation passes, Resio told Spinnaker they didn’t have any other space to put it.

“We didn’t choose the space out of a number of choices, we just truly didn’t have another space that we were allowed to use,” he said.

According to Attorney General Cody Choi and Chief of Staff John Aloszka, there are a number of student groups who are interested in the other half of the skatepark.

For instance, athletics has expressed interest in storage, Coastal Biology has asked to install a permanent structure and Ogier Gardens would like to expand along with Recreation and Wellness, who would potentially want to use the space for programs.

There is also a student who is interested in bringing the skatepark back.

However, SG didn’t want to have a contractual obligation with any specific group, so to whom the space would be given was not included in the bill.

Resio shared his hope that the Student Government Senate will consider allowing his department to continue their work on half of the concrete slab behind Lot 18. The Senate will vote on the resolution to the Coastal Engineering Program’s presence on old skate park grounds this Friday, June 22 at 1 p.m in the Senate Chambers.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].