Getting Schooled

March 13, 2014
University assigns permeable pavers to the task of storm water mitigation

Over the past two summers, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., embarked on an extensive project to install Pine Hall Brick’s StormPave permeable pavers to keep the university’s red-brick architectural heritage and find a better way to manage storm water.

Ryan F. Swanson, university architect, said the installation took place on several sites, roughly centered in the Farrell Hall and Wait Chapel areas on campus. The new pavers include a 24-ft-wide plaza on the east side of Farrell Hall, which houses the university’s school of business. 

That plaza encircles most of the building and extends out to the Polo Road entrance. Sidewalks are being extended at the North Dining Hall and the Dogwood and Magnolia residence halls, due to open later this year. A new 150-yd walking path will allow students and visitors to make their way from a parking area to Wait Chapel.

The projects concentrate on three things: aesthetics, practical design and available space.

Aesthetically, the StormPave pavers are virtually identical in appearance to pavers already in place on the campus and fit in well with the red-brick buildings already in place.

The College's Storm Water Management

From a practical standpoint, the design was part of a larger effort on the university’s part to meet Winston-Salem’s storm water mitigation requirements. It is well known that with property that is paved over—whether a large shopping district or a university campus—the rainfall has nowhere to go. The excess water can cause a surge downstream, which can cause erosion, flooding and property damage.

As a result, cities and counties now require owners to install storm water management mechanisms, such as permeable pavers and other means, to keep more rainwater on site and return downstream flows closer to a volume that would occur naturally.

Other storm water control measures were used at the college as well. Two large concrete cisterns, capable of handling 110,000 gal, had been installed under the parking lot at the Byrum Welcome Center to collect and then dissipate storm water at a slower rate.

The cisterns are used in conjunction with three bioswales—hollowed out earth areas—to slow water flow into Lake Katherine and Silas Creek. At the new South Residence Hall, two bioswales were created that collect rainwater in a 5-ft-deep crushed rock bed. There are also several in-ground mini-cisterns with a rock filtering system connected to the storm water system under Jasper Memory Lane.

Swanson said the new StormPave installations on north campus represent an opportunity to move away from large, land-consuming projects and toward cost-effective permeable pavers.

Rainwater filters through the field of bricks and is then absorbed by 18 in. of aggregate beneath them. The aggregate keeps the pavers stable while acting as a reservoir of sorts to hold the rainwater while releasing it slowly to the ground underneath.

Ted Corvey is vice president of sales and marketing at Pine Hall Brick Co. Corvey can be reached at [email protected] or 800.334.8689.

About the Author

Ted Corvey