GVSU's Pervious Concrete Courtyard

By Brittney Alyson Hurst, Michigan Concrete Association | September 28, 2010

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) introduced pervious concrete to its campus courtyard in August 2008. "GVSU wanted an area for the students and employees to interact," Tod Mackey, project coordinator at DeYoung Concrete, Inc., of Rockford, MI, said. DeYoung Concrete, Inc. was a subcontractor on the project. Because the project location is between two campus buildings, the courtyard is most fitting for studying, greeting and interacting with others.

The pervious concrete used for this project is composed of nearly 3,000 pounds of tiny limestone; 540 pounds of cement; 60 pounds of slag; and 20 gallons of water, air and water reducer. The benefit of pervious concrete for this project is that when it rains, it drains. Because the location of the courtyard is tightly situated between two campus buildings, there is almost no drainage for high precipitation levels. The pervious concrete allows the precipitation to collect and be reused in the university's sprinkler system.

The prime contractor for this project was the Christman Company, of Grand Rapids, MI. Other subcontractors were Everett's Landscaping and Coit Avenue Gravel Company, both of Grand Rapids. Because of the circumstances of this project, evaluation of the equipment needed was necessary to ensure productivity and achieve quality workmanship.

Mackey said that the contractors based the selection of equipment on the time frame. The equipment used for this project included a pervious roller that places the pervious concrete and a pervious joiner that forms bonds or "joins" the pervious concrete once the surface is laid.

The project was done in 2008. The materials used for this project included approximately 380 square yards of combined concrete, with 40 square yards being pervious concrete and 340 square yards being conventional concrete.

The challenges faced during this project were little to no access, a tight space and a short construction schedule with not much flexibility. Mackey said that the challenges were overcome by holding weekly project coordination meetings and keeping close and constant communication between all parties involved.