WESTFIELD, Mass. – Major improvements have been completed at Westfield State University's Alumni Field, the Jerry Gravel outdoor track, and the Woodward Center indoor track over the summer.
"I'm really pleased that we were able to get the renovations done this summer, and I'd like to thank President Torrecilha for seeing this plan come to fruition," said Westfield State athletic director Dick Lenfest. "Our student athletes will have the chance to compete on the best field and track surfaces that are available today."
The Alumni Field has been resurfaced with a state of the art Sprint Turf surface, with a new resilient pad material underneath the surface for additional cushioning and enhanced safety.
"The field has a blend of monofilament fibers and slit film fibers, which will look more like natural grass over the course of time," said Megan Buczynski, the principal civil engineer from Activitas, who oversaw the project. "It should hold the look of natural grass. We were also able to use the recycled infill and sand on site, and the old carpet ended up being repurposed as well."
Frequent visitors will recognize the new blue turf in football end zones, which spell out "Westfield" and "Owls," as well as a colorful inlay of the Owls "W" logo at midfield.
The turf has unique lines for each of the sports that compete on the field, including football, field hockey, men's and women's soccer, women's lacrosse, and men's lacrosse lines were added to service the club lacrosse program and make the facility available for high school and other championship events. New safety netting was added behind each goal at the ends of the field.
The Jerry Gravel Track received a five millimeter over layer and new polyurethane coating, which adds both resiliency to the track and should add a longer lifespan to the facility, according to Buczynski. "You have to balance the resiliency for training and safety, as well as speed for meets, and Westfield State will be able to host the highest level meets on the track."
The throwing areas were resurfaced and several practice circles were added.
Along with the competition surfaces, the surrounding asphalt apron areas were resurfaced.
In the Woodward Center field house, the 14-year old indoor track surface installed when the Woodward Center opened in 2004, received a similar resurfacing as the outdoor facility.
The project began after the last competition in May, and was completed the first week in August as 87 Owls football players began the 2018 preseason on August 10.
"Westfield State had done such a good job of maintaining the facility that it ended up being more of a 12-year face lift then full construction," said Buczynski.
Westfield's Alumni Field was one of the first collegiate artificial turf fields in New England, first constructed in 1974, and has seen several upgrades to the playing surface and the entire facility, most recently in 2006. The facility sees heavy use with five varsity teams competing, several more practicing, and several club programs as well as intramural athletic events on a daily basis. Now in heavy use with fall teams reporting for preseason, the track facilities will resume public hours on September 4 to coincide with the start of classes. The facilities were closed for the summer while construction was ongoing. Facility schedules are posted at WestfieldStateOwls.com.
The Owls will have their first intercollegiate competition on Alumni Field on Friday, August 31, when the football team hosts Nichols College in a 7:00 p.m. start.
"I am thrilled that in a relatively short period of time that we have been able to complete great improvements to our athletic facilities," said Lenfest. "This project, as well as the work on our baseball and softball fields that was completed last season, and inside the Woodward Center the track and bleachers got a facelift plus new lighting a few years ago. The basketball court and dance room both had their annual refinishing completed this week," said Lenfest. "It's a great time to be a student athlete at Westfield State University."