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New Baseball & Softball Complex with Synthetic-Turf Fields

As the City of Johnston’s population continues to grow, the need for new schools and facilities has gone from the drawing board to reality over the past several years. And Snyder & Associates has been there every step of the way. From designing a new regional parkhigh school, sports complex, and the roadways surrounding these developments, to spearheading a city-wide walkability study, Snyder & Associates has teamed with the Johnston Community School District and the City of Johnston to help make these projects come to life.

Upgraded Access & Improved Player Safety Take the Forefront at the New Baseball & Softball Complex

In continuing that long-standing partnership between these entities, Snyder & Associates was selected by the school district to design a new ballfield complex for their high school baseball and softball programs. The existing baseball field had several shortcomings, including poor drainage and an extremely bumpy playing surface. After a review by a professional in the turf management field, it was determined this surface posed a much greater threat to player safety than originally thought. In addition to player safety concerns, another desire of the school district was to have the baseball and softball fields closer together. The end goal was to create an environment that shared some of the common facilities and where fans could be actively involved in both games.

First-in-the-State, Baseball & Softball, Synthetic-Turf Playing Fields

Softball field with water drainage issues

Prior to renovations, the Johnston softball field suffered from major flooding near the backstop.

With an eye toward competing with the top baseball and softball programs in the state, the school district also wanted to explore the use of synthetic turf for both ballfields. On top of improving safety, a weather-resistant synthetic turf means fewer canceled games and provides players more time on the field for practice. Snyder & Associates selected a variety of product options based on ample experience with specialty sports surfaces and assisted the school district with their product decisions.

It was determined the existing baseball field site was the best location for the new improvements, while a brand new softball field would be constructed adjacent to the baseball field. In addition to the new turf, both fields would get new player facilities, backstops, fencing, and a concrete concourse area between the fields to provide better fan access. Our design team also prepared enhanced stormwater modeling to provide the necessary stormwater management infrastructure. This improved the poor drainage associated with the existing ballfield location and the surrounding site.

Using the current baseball field site required the existing sod and amenities to be removed and improved during the off-season. This made the project design and construction schedules somewhat challenging. But when the design stage concluded in the summer, construction began immediately following the baseball season. Work wrapped up in May of the following year. This allowed both the baseball and softball programs to begin their seasons on the new fields without delays or rescheduling.

Cross-Country Course added to Johnston High School Campus

Cross country runner running through line of parents

The new cross-country course provides ample room for spectators to view the events.

Two years after the opening of their new high school, the Johnston Community School District (JCSD) identified the need to create a safe and resilient cross-country course on their campus that would provide a quality surface for athletes, while also providing ample space for spectators. Their existing practice course consisted of a mowed trail around the perimeter of the property that required numerous upgrades to meet the district’s needs. The Snyder and Associates team was again asked to create a master plan for the project and manage its execution.

Guided by district leaders, our process began with a site walk to identify issues with the current course. The visit allowed our design team to gain a full understanding of problem areas and environmental conditions that would need to be addressed to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for athletes and fans. Existing wetlands, property lines, changes in elevation, and several culvert crossings made the project especially challenging. The poor conditions on the practice course made it difficult to grow or maintain grass, exhibited a variety of erosion issues, and had ponding issues in several low-lying areas.

Our team created a master plan and worked closely with the contractor to ensure each problem area was adjusted to match the design’s specifications. After grading and shaping to address the ponding issues, the course was seeded using a combination of overseeding and hydroseeding to reduce erosion and quickly establish the new surface. The natural turf mix was selected for its resiliency, density, leaf texture, and drought tolerance. Also, its low maintenance and robust nature were a perfect fit for the district’s needs.

The high-quality and easily maintainable course now provides an attractive and functional recreation area on the Johnston High School Campus, adding yet another amenity to the district and community.