FORT IRWIN • Skateboarding enthusiasts at Fort Irwin will soon be able to push their gravity-defying limits even further as construction of a new skate park nears completion.

The new park replaces a much smaller existing skate park on the base, according to Etric Smith, Fort Irwin media relations coordinator. The opening date for the new park is Aug. 26.

The old park was about 6,000-square-feet, according to Mark Bradford, chief operating officer of Spohn Ranch, the Los Angeles-based developer building the park. The new park will sprawl approximately 15,000-square-feet, he said.

The new facility — designed in a style called a "skate plaza" — will mimic elements found on streets that skateboarders use for tricks rather than featuring traditional ramps  — a growing trend in skateboarding, said Doug Hagen, Spohn Ranch project manager.

The park will also use all concrete ramps and will remove steel ramps, said Hagen. While designing the skate park, fort officials specifically requested that only concrete be used, making it safer since outdoor steel fixtures can get hot very quickly.

"They have a tendency to absorb a lot of heat from the sun," Hagen noted.

Spohn Ranch has constructed skate parks on military installations across the globe, including posts in Japan and Cuba, including a park at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base completed in March, said Marketing Manager Vince Onel. The skate park at Fort Irwin is their first project on a base in the United States, Onel said.

Residents of Fort Irwin can participate in a contest to name and design a logo for the park, and can contact Fort Irwin's Marketing Department for more information at (760)380-9275. The entry deadline is Aug. 14 at 5 p.m.

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