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Seattle University


Our Turf

Written by Mike Thee
August 15, 2012

There's been a lot of activity down at Logan Field these past few months, but beginng this week, as workers start to put the turf down, the field will really start looking like, well, a field. Actually, for the sake of accuracy we should probably say it will begin looking more like a park

That's because, as The Commons learned from a trusted source this week, the entire area under construction will be called Seattle University Park. The name reflects an intentional effort to create a gathering space for all members of the campus community. Logan Field will live on and continue to be the name of the softball field, now located in the southwest corner, as a greatly enhanced tribute to Frank Logan, S.J. The legendary Jesuit, who was affectionately known as "Coach" for his devotion to athletics, served the university for more than 60 years before his passing in 2004. 

OK, so now that we've covered the new name, what can we tell you about the green stuff? 

Lots. For one thing, the turf is notable for its composition. Most field turf out there today consists of one type of fiber, Steve De Bruhl, project manager in Facilities, says. "Our turf is a blend of two fibers." 

"The fibers are 50 percent slit film, which provides durability, and 50 percent monofilament, which looks and plays a little more like real grass," explains Brian Patnode of Bruce Dees & Associates, the architect on the project. He calls SU's turf "an appropriate blend of aesthetics, durability and playability." 

SU's turf will also contain fill material-a 50/50 mix of rubber pellets and sand, which provides more cushioning. (The slit film blades help hold the pellets down to improve performance, De Bruhl explains.) 

Manufactured by Shaw-Sportexe, a division of Berkshire Hathaway, the turf comes with an eight-year warranty, but with proper maintenance, Patnode says it's reasonable to expect the field to hold up longer than that. 

For the sustainability minded, there's much to like about the field. The turf is made from recycled tires, conserves water and, of course, doesn't need to be mowed, reducing carbon emissions. 

The turf will be delivered on approximately 40 rolls, each 15' wide. The shortest roll is approximately 70' and the longest is about 220'. The installation is expected to be completed by the end of the month, and Seattle University Park is set to open in time for the fall quarter. 

Some of the field markings will already be "tufted in" the turf when it arrives. Other markings will be added when it's installed on the field. The markings will support a wide range of sports such as soccer, lacrosse, rugby, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and, of course, softball. A number of SU-branded elements will also be added to the turf. 

And yet there's much more to the turf than meets the eye. Underneath the lush green surface is a multi-layered support system that will ensure excellent drainage, shock absorption and the optimal level of "bounce," both for the people using the field and the balls with which they are playing. 

All of these features, particularly the drainage factor, are being enthusiastically welcomed by the campus community, particularly those who participate in intercollegiate, intramural and club sports. The turf, combined with new lighting, will allow the university to nearly double the number of hours available for intramural and club sports from 38 to 69 hours per week. 

"We at University Recreation are extremely excited for what this new turf field means for our intramural and sport clubs," enthuses Blake Simpfenderfer, assistant director of recreation, competitive sports. "The turf and the new lighting system will provide us the ability to program after 4 p.m. and not have to worry about turning the field into a giant mud pit when it rains. Apparently it does a little bit of that here," he says wryly. 

Associate Athletic Director Eric Guerra sees the new field as a significant enhancement to intercollegiate sports at SU. "Watching the all-new Logan Field softball complex take shape over the summer has been a thrilling experience," he says. "We are both grateful and excited for the many great moments we, as a campus community, will share at the field for years to come." 

But the benefits of the new turf and park are expected to transcend organized sports, Simpfenderfer says. He sees the park as an enhancement of the SU experience for all faculty, staff and students. "I believe that the field will now become a new, rejuvenated part of campus where you actually see a lot of students, faculty and staff flocking to to enjoy some personal recreation time, burning off stress, and enjoying each other's company. I'm really excited and proud that Seattle University is taking this huge step forward and is committing this space for the recreational users of campus." 

Simpfenderfer adds: "The fields open us up to getting creative with the different recreational activities we program in the future.  If anyone has any ideas they would like to see turned into an intramural event, I would love to hear from you."