Seemingly overnight, the piles of gray and brown sand covering the site of Abilene Christian University’s new track and field/soccer stadium have disappeared beneath the ground.
About 400 tons of what is called root-zone sand was poured into an even layer nine inches deep and overlaid this week with sod, creating the first official soccer field in ACU history. Once crews finish installing irrigation lines, the site will look a lot more purple. Rolls of sod wait to be used to create the new soccer pitch Wednesday.
“Everything inside the track has to be complete before they start the running surface,” said John Mann, project superintendent for HOAR Construction, the contractor ACU has hired to build four of the five projects that are part of the Vision in Action initiative.Beynon Sports Surfaces – the Maryland-based company whose previous projects have included NCAA Division I tracks for Baylor, TCU, Alabama, Texas and Florida State – will begin pouring the Wildcats’ new purple-colored track next week, likely on Wednesday, Mann said. A live webcam is recording the progress of the stadium.
The University of Oregon’s legendary Hayward Field – known as TrackTown USA – is one of the showcases for Benyon’s work. Hayward Field was the site of the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, the 2009 and 2011 U.S. Outdoor Nationals, and the 2010 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships. In July, 129 records were set at Hayward during the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships and another nine during the 40th annual Prefontaine Classic. The 2015 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials also will be held in Eugene.
Depending on weather, ACU’s installation process will take up to four weeks, Mann said. Once crews finish pouring the track, construction will begin on lighting, stands and press box, with most of that work expected to be complete by the end of January.
Crews also began work Tuesday on a new track fieldhouse, to sit alongside the current one shared by the women’s soccer and softball teams. After underground utilities are installed, crews next week will pour the foundation. Projected completion for the fieldhouse is April 1, just in time for ACU’s first fully Division I track and field meet later that month. The second annual Wes Kittley Invitational on April 11 will feature teams from ACU, Texas Tech, TCU and New Mexico.
Vision in Action is the $75 million initiative that will lead to three new science facilities and two new stadiums, including the first on-campus football stadium in more than 70 years.