2021 Winner: Desert Sky Park

Desert Sky Park

Gilbert, AZ – Merit Award, Parks & Recreational Fields


Douglas Macdonald, Aqua Engineering, Inc.


  • Desert Sky Park is a new 55 acre park, constructed within the Rittenhouse Basin on the East Maricopa Floodway in Gilbert, AZ
  • Site amenities after construction build out are master planned to include up to 16 sand based soccer fields, volleyball and pickle ball courts, multi use turfgrass areas, natural riparian and desert planting areas, ADA conforming pedestrian paths and vehicular parking areas, a 2.9 acre irrigation water storage lake amenity, playgrounds, shaded picnic areas, a restroom and concessions building, and a multi use event open space
  • Irrigation water is delivered to the on site water storage lake from two sources; a metered reclaimed water source, and an on site groundwater well, both of which were installed under this design and construction contract
  • The IC designed separate “air gap” wet well structures from each water source to “feed” the lake
  • The project is constructed in a flood basin that provided design and construction challenges including the need to install the pumping system and control system at a “high and dry” location on site for equipment protection
  • A two wire decoder system was specified by the consultant to enable the controller to service the entire site at build out from that single “high and dry” location
  • Irrigation system master planning
  • Water source development
  • Landscape irrigation system design
  • Lake grading / edge treatment / lining / aeration system design
  • Lake recirculation pumping and piping system design
  • Irrigation pumping system design
  • Coordination with project civil engineer and pump station manufacturer for control system
  • Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery, requiring significant collaboration between consultant and contractor to maintain design integrity throughout ongoing value engineering process during project construction
  • Decision by Town of Gilbert to provide sand based turfgrass soccer fields after significant site construction had taken place, requiring immediate design revisions for separation of irrigation control and coverage between sand based field turfgrass and adjacent native soil turfgrass areas
  • Consultant was required to come up with a creative solution for interface between ultrasonic lake level control technology and irrigation water supply delivery system from multiple water sources

Irrigation water source & pump station construction

Irrigation System Construction

Irrigation Storage Lake Construction