These days, students at Lafayette Christian School are walking on rubber tires and recycled Coke bottles.
When the school recently built a new parking lot at the side of its main building, more people began entering through a little-used side entrance. The increased foot traffic made previous problems in that area even worse.
“We had a water problem,” said John Cipolla, headmaster of the school. “Whenever it rained, we had a lot of standing water in the walkway.”
The area had been built years ago to provide a walkway between two buildings.
“It was somewhat of an afterthought to pour concrete between the two buildings and turn it into a patio. It wasn’t laid out just right so anytime it rained, you had standing water. They cut curbs and did a couple of things to try to correct it, but it didn’t work,” said Steve Livingston, the builder who put in the new entrance. He did not do the original work at the school.
During rainy seasons students and faculty dubbed the walkway, “Lake Lafayette.” With the new parking lot, it became obvious that the school needed a new entrance that was not only accessible, but also better looking.
“We left as much of the concrete as we could, but cut out some areas and dug trenches with new drains tying into existing drains,” Livingston said.
During the process, Livingston found a variety of products that were not only useful, but also kinder to the environment.
“We started searching for products that would serve the purpose and add beauty. We found EnviroTile, a paver made from recycled tires in Dalton. It’s a lot more comfortable to walk on,” he said. He also used a composite decking material made from recycled plastic, including plastic soft drink bottles, and filled in trenches with river rock.
“It’s exciting to see the response you get,” Livingston said. “Talking with some of the students and staff it dawned on me that this is a reflection of the school. It’s a nurturing, warm, welcoming environment. It was fun to be a part of that transformation.”
John Cipolla admitted he is known more for his frugality than his desire for beauty.
“The truth is there are useful and aesthetically pleasing products on the market that are from the recycled materials. We needed to solve a problem and these products worked well for us,” he said. “It really does look good.”