New Esther Simplot Water Park Features Special Precast Components

Boise, Idaho



New Esther Simplot Water Park


Boise Parks and Recreation Department


McMillen Jacobs Associates


Oldcastle Precast Nampa, Idaho

The Problem

Funded privately by the J.R. Simplot Foundation, Esther Simplot Park is the newest addition to the “Ribbon of Jewels”, the string of riverside parks named for prominent women in this community. Located north of the Boise River between Fairview Avenue and Veteran’s Parkway, Esther Simplot Park is the largest of the city parks, encompassing 23 acres of ponds, wetlands and other waterways for fishing, wading, and swimming, covering more than 40 percent of the park’s 55 acres. Amenities include bridges, docks, trails, restrooms, boardwalks, natural and paved pathways, shelters, grassy open areas, a playground, and wildlife habitat. The Esther Simplot Park, bordered by Whitewater Park Blvd. and the Boise River, is designed to reduce flood risk and manage stormwater, as well as provide valuable recreational opportunities.

Design-Build firm McMillen Jacobs Associates was selected to design and construct the Boise River Park Phase II and Esther Simplot Park projects. The company has a record of accomplishment of successfully delivering complex water resources and heavy civil projects using its design-build model, which includes in-house environmental, engineering, and construction capabilities. A completion date is set for Summer-Fall 2016.

“Working closely with McMillen-Jacobs, the Oldcastle Precast Nampa, Idaho team delivered the precast concrete park elements on budget and on time to keep the project flowing smoothly,” said Mike Blackham, P.E., Idaho Engineering Manager. “The team
worked tirelessly to ensure the high standard of the products, both at the factory and after installation.”

The Design

For main contractor, McMillen-Jacobs, Oldcastle Precast – Nampa, Idaho supplied six precast concrete, arched bridge fascia panels, twelve bridge column pier caps, nine park signs, various catch basins and manholes for stormwater drainage, box culverts for water conveyance, and numerous parking bumpers.

The Solution

Creating a very distinguishing look for the park’s new vehicular bridge, Oldcastle Precast cast the arched bridge fascia panels with wood grain finish which were installed three on each side of the bridge, with the column pier caps mounted on top of the bridge columns.

The uniquely crafted, precast concrete, decorative park entrance and directional signage, specifically designed for Esther Simplot Park, is a striking feature of the park. To achieve the complex and highly sculptured form of the signage’s external facade, Oldcastle Precast cast four-inch deep, intricately detailed, block out shapes, for the inset of the stonework. In all, nine decorative signs were produced, seven small signs, 9-foot-tall by 4-foot-long and two large signs, 12-foot-tall by 17-foot-long.

Additionally, Oldcastle Precast provided 326-linear-feet of box culvert, multiple 30’ wide x 10’ high precast segments, to create the new diversion structure which includes an improved intake/trash rack and flow control gates at the downstream end of the culvert. The ground surface in the vicinity of the diversion was lowered approximately 3 feet to provide additional flood conveyance through this area.

The 326-foot box culvert bridge lies underground, directly after the water intake structure, for park water conveyance and redirection to the river, whereas the precast catch basins, manholes and sediment box tanks provided controlled park stormwater drainage.

For Oldcastle Precast, the project proved a stimulating challenge and the company was delighted with the result. Challenges to the project included a tight schedule. The fast-track project was carried out with high predictability, reducing dependency on skilled trades while maintaining safety standards. This ensured a high-quality solution providing a benchmark for future schemes of a similar nature.

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