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Zane Middle School triangle of rebirth

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ENGR215 Project Page in Progress
This page is a project page in progress by students in Engr215. Please refrain from making edits unless you are a member of the project team, but feel free to make comments using the discussion tab. Check back for the finished version on May 14.

The Triangle of Rebirth



The purpose of this project was to redesign the triangular area in front of Catherine Zane Middle School, Eureka CA. A new, even path made of aggregated concrete in a solid Z-shape was implemented, along with three planters made of the repurposed concrete from the former path.


The project area before Team Geometrees, nicknamed the Triangle of Death

This project was designed by Team Geometrees, HSU students taking ENGR 215 taught by Lonny Grafman in Spring 2019. Catherine Zane Middle School, a STEAM-based charter middle school, was the client. The client representative for Zane was Trevor Hammons, a school admin. Trevor has worked with Grafman and HSU for several years, and had a previous HSU student group work in the same area as this project. By the time Team Geometrees saw the project, it had decayed to the point of being unsatisfactory. The previous area had an uneven, star-shaped path made of reused concrete blocks. Additionally, there was only wood chips in the triangle surrounding the path.

Problem statement and criteria[edit]

The Triangle of Death lacked desirable aesthetic, with an uneven path in a star-like design and no plants. Team Geometrees decided upon several criteria to find the solution that best fit the client’s desires for the project.

Criteria Weight Constraints
10 Safety The project must not contain anything the students can pick up and throw. Additionally there should be no sharp edges or poisonous plants.
9 Accessibility Those with wheelchairs should be able to access and use the project.
9 Durability The project should last several years with the same quality.
9 Quality The project should be coherent and well thought-out.
9 Eco-Friendliness The project should use minimal new materials and strive for reused ones.
8 Cost Must be under 400 dollars.
8 Aesthetics The project should be visually pleasing.
8 School Themed The design should integrate well with the surrounding, as well as represent Zane Middle School.
8 Manageability The effort to maintain the quality of the project should be minimal.

Description of final project[edit]

The final project is composed of a Z-shaped walkway made of aggregated concrete that is level and wide enough to be wheelchair accessible. Additionally, there are three planters that will prevent the plants from being stepped on and killed while also doubling as seating for the students during break.


Prototypes Gallery
CAD design showing the interference of the poles  
A prototype of the path using string  
A physical prototype of the planter  
A drawn prototype of the planter  
A drawn prototype of the planter  

Two separate forms of prototyping were done for the path and planters.

Prototyping for the pathway began with a simple CAD model of the Triangle and the desired location of the path. String and stakes were placed along the designed outside of the walkway. From this, we learned that the poles surrounding the Triangle would interfere with our walkway and make it inaccessible to wheelchairs. The string was relocated to where the path would not interfere with the poles.

Prototyping for the planters consisted of attempting to create three rings of concrete blocks, each one on top of the other. We kept attempting to fit the pieces together, similarly to a puzzle, in order to get the planter to be circular in shape, stable, and flat on the top.


Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Total ($)
1 Cable Ties Piersons 5.41 5.41
2 Plastic Net Piersons 17.89 35.77
2 Kitchen Twine Target 5.74 11.48
1 Quikrete Ace Hardware 6.99 6.99
3 Quikrete Ace Hardware 8.99 26.97
1 Tub Ace Hardware 7.99 7.99
1 Pliers Ace Hardware 10.76 10.76
1 Caution Tape Ace Hardware 8.67 8.67
2 3/8 Exposed Grout Donated 0 0
Total Cost $114.04

How to build[edit]

How to Build a Pathway
Step 1 : Place liners in correct location and depth as desired pathway.
  Step 2 : Dig out dirt between liners as necessary to give the path the correct volume
  Step 3 : Compact the dirt between the liners
  Step 4 : Mix concrete in mixing truck
  Step 5 : Pour concrete between liners and smooth the top of the concrete using hand paddles
Step 7 : Wait an hour or so for the concrete to be slightly drier and then lightly run a brush over the top to prevent slipping
Step 9 : Leave to cure for several days
How to Build a Planter
Step 1 : Make a ring using repurposed concrete blocks
Step 2 : Wet the tops of the blocks
Step 3 : Apply Quikrete to top
Step 4 : Lay another ring of concrete on top
Step 5 : Wet the tops and apply Quikrete again
Step 6 : Lay a final layer of concrete, taking special care to ensure it is flat and even on top.
  Step 7 : Wait at least a day to dry


Maintenance for the project is very simple. The pathway should be washed and brushed yearly.


How to Clean the Concrete
  Step 1 : Sweep path of debris using a broom
  Step 2 : Rinse with hose


Problem Suggestion
Path breaks Seek consultation from Eureka Ready Mix
Planter breaks Use a 1:1 mixture of water and Quikrete to glue pieces back together.

Discussion and next steps[edit]

The walkway was very successful and is now much easier and safer to walk on. Although the team had wanted to use permeable concrete and were unable to find the means of acquiring it, the aggregate concrete ended up working well anyway. Team Geometrees was very satisfied with how both the Z-path and planters looked. Next steps would be to fill the planters with soil and plants.

Suggestions for future changes[edit]

One other option that may be useful for other projects would be to use a more permeable concrete for the walkway, which would allow for water to flow through the path. This would make it rougher and less wheelchair accessible, however it may suit better depending on the needs of the project.

Update September 2019[edit]

The Triangle of Rebirth Z-shaped pathway is functional, however the liners were sticking out in multiple locations by the path. Additionally, the repurposed-concrete planters were not there. We reached out to Trevor Hammons, the counseling services director. Hammons said that the planters were removed because they were never filled or planted. He suggested that future projects be followed-through to prevent incompletion and lack of purpose. He also mentioned there were worries about ADA compliance, and pointed out three other areas that were ADA compliant.

There are currently no plants being grown within the triangle of rebirth. Trash was also found laying around. Overall, the site is not being maintained to keep its aesthetic, which was one of Zane Middle's schools priorities for the project.

September 2019 Update
September 2019 Update


See Help:Footnotes for more.