Field of dreams

By Dale Miller

A self-wetting newborn can be a bit of a hassle, especially if it’s 100 yards long, and covered in Astroturf.

For those of you who have either a) had your head in the ground for a year, b) not been anywhere near the west of campus or c) just plain forgot, we are getting a new field hockey pitch on the west side of campus.

The pitch will have a concrete base covered in Astroturf with a sprinkler system–thanks captain obvious, but the water makes the turf softer. Self-lubricating Astro-turf is the ideal pitch these days, and since the only artificial field in Calgary is McMahon Stadium–which, incidentally, is quite dry and quite busy–the field hockey community saw the need for another venue.

“This started about three and a half years ago, when we lost two of our major fields due to the construction of Cascade Hall,” said John Paulsen, Director of Operations at the Faculty of Kinesiology. “There wasn’t any money in the institution to replace them, so I went out and formed a partnership with the Alberta Field Hockey Association and the Dinosaur Soccer Club.”

The entire development is expected to cost 2.5 million dollars, 1.6 of which has already been raised, with the remainder being loaned by the university–who aren’t contributing anything to the development.

In spite of a strong fund-raising base, the pitch has had a number of setbacks over the last three years, mostly due to the development of the Children’s Hospital.

Last summer was supposed to have seen the completion of the asphalt stage, which was still incomplete at the end of the construction season last November. Wet weather has caused a slow start to this season, pushing out an already stretched deadline.

“We are about six weeks away from the completion of the asphalt surface,” said Paulsen. “Once the asphalt surface is completed, it will need two to four weeks for it to cure properly. Following that, Astroturf will come in and put the synthetic surface on. Our goal was to have it ready by Sept. 1, whether that is still feasible with the weather that we have had this year, we will have to wait and see.”

Development across the street will be the next priority for Kinesiology in West Campus.

“We are in the process, in the next week or so, to get a construction manager on board, and we are going to, at minimum, build a small parking lot and a competitive soccer field on the mountain,” said Paulsen. “If there is money left at the end of the day, then we are going to look at irrigating, top dressing, putting the loam down and seeding what will become the future intercollegiate practice football field.”

When all is said and done, the east side of Collegiate Road will see a new field hockey pitch and two fields for student recreation, while the west side will see a new soccer field, parking lot, and possibly new practice space for the football team.

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