Improving a Natural Turf Football Field & Expanding Athletic Facility Capabilities
The Nevada Community School District expressed a desire to upgrade its existing football field and provide a full size, competitive soccer field for their soccer program. The existing football field posed a number of safety risks that made it unfit for athletes to play soccer on, requiring games to be held at other facilities. Areas of particular concern were:
- The field was set low and had “bird baths” or undulation across the natural turf. To fix this, the football field was raised approximately two feet.
- Corners of the football field presented a drastic change in elevation in comparison to the surrounding running track. This presented a safety issue that was mitigated by raising the field.
- The long jump adjacent to the straightaway caused the turf area to be more narrow than preferred, which prevented the field from being used as a competitive soccer field.
Several options to raise the field elevation and provide a more uniform slope were discussed and reviewed to ensure the final athletic facility design would result in increased performance, playability, and usage. Critical facility design components of high-quality natural turf athletic fields were taken into consideration including the sub-drain system, irrigation system, and imported soil.
Irrigation & Subdrain Systems are Key to Natural Turf Maintenance
New drainage and irrigation systems were proposed to improve the conditions of the natural turf. Designed for internal gravity drainage, a system of collector drains that run alongside the inside edge of the running track and surrounding the multipurpose field and lateral drains were installed across the playing surface at a 45-degree angle to surface runoff. As a result, when the soil becomes saturated, water will flow into perforated lateral lines and down into the collector drain. Equally important to the design of the athletic field is an irrigation system designed for safety, dependability, efficiency, and ease of maintenance. To meet the outlined criteria, a newly designed Hunter irrigation system was selected.
Evaluating Soil Composition & Turf Species for Optimal Field Performance
Soil testing for nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium determined that soil amendments would be needed. As a result, a significant amount of soil was imported to crown the field and improve soil conditions so that healthy natural turf could be established. A Kentucky bluegrass blend was used for the initial establishment of the turf with the addition of perennial ryegrass in heavy use areas to withstand traffic and improve turf performance. A long-term maintenance plan was also developed as part of the project to guide the aeration, seeding, fertilization, and mow schedule.
Taking athletic facility trends into account, other stadium improvements included a new concession building, restrooms, press box, spirit store, plaza area, storage area, and fencing. In addition, an underground stormwater detention system was utilized to meet regulations, while providing a green space for athletic booster tailgating and ticket entrance.
Snyder & Associates provided survey, design, construction documents, and construction administration services for the project.