The Field of Our Dreams

Maggie Reese, Sports Editor

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  The long-awaited baseball and softball fields will be ready for use come this spring season, according to Athletic Director Jaime Sherwood.
  “The idea for the new fields began about five or six years ago,” said Sherwood. “It came in a brainstorming session during the school’s renovation and upgrading process.” The creation of the fields was a long process. It takes about 6-8 weeks to grade the field, install the utilities, irrigation system, and topsoil, according to Anderson-Johnson Associates Incorporated Civil Engineer Dave Rey. It also takes a full year for the grass to grow after these installations.
  According to Rey, the main difference between the old field and the new ones is the new soil, installed by Veit & Company Incorporated, that is now being used. “The existing field utilized “native” topsoil,” said Rey. “This topsoil is high in silt and clay content and therefore does not let the water down to the grass roots as easily as a sandier topsoil. With a sand-based topsoil field, the roots grow deep, searching for the water.” “The [original baseball] field could not take water and consequently flooded with even the smallest amount of rain,” said head baseball coach Robert DeWitt. “Games and practices were cancelled too often.” According to Wold Architects and Engineers Associate Ben Beery, the longer roots have more energy stored and are more resilient to athletic use. “In addition to the soil mixture, there is a piped drainage system below the fields as well,” said Beery. “This system was installed on both fields to help it quickly drain the water from the field.”
  “This play surface is similar to a lot of pro stadiums, including the Target Field,” said Beery. “The construction cost for the baseball field only was approximately $500,000,” said Rey.
“The softball construction cost was approximately $400,000.” The two fields required the same materials, so differences in cost is due to difference in sizes specified by the Minnesota High School League. The fields have new scoreboards funded by the Wayzata Athletic Boosters program, according to Sherwood.
  The fields will also be lit up with a new lighting system. “The  lights were manufactured by Musco Sports Lighting and typically lighting is selected to focus the light on the field, with the light being brighter in the infield areas and slightly dimmer in the outfield areas,” said Rey. “Special fixtures are selected to minimize glare, reduce up lighting, and light pollution outside
of the field limits.”
  “The most noticeable change for spectators and players will be the addition of lights,” said DeWitt. “[This] will change our home game times to 6:30 pm instead of 4:30 pm.”

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