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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Bell Field undergoes renovation for fall season

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When varsity soccer plays its opener September 4th, a freshly renovated Bell Field will greet the players. The new field will make use of highly innovative grasses that will be denser and more uniform.

Citing safety concerns, the Carleton grounds department decided it was time for the new field. According to Grounds manager Jay Stadler, “It is vital that the turf has a good quality thatch layer, because thatch acts like a cushion, and is the number one injury reducing element.”

The old field lacked this thatch layer, and was “bumpy and filled with mole holes,” according to varsity soccer player Jack Lightbody. It was also fairly unleveled, partially owing to an old softball field that was never properly restored. However, the field on the whole only varied by one foot of grade, meaning the project was not terribly expensive.

And, there were other significant benefits to restoring the field. A new irrigation system will make the field greener in both senses of the word. The system will make use of moisture sensors that will shut off the sprinklers when the field is properly saturated.

“It’s very responsible watering,” said Stadler. “If we’re going to water we should do it right.”

Similarly, the type of grass being used is highly efficient. Instead of using traditional blue grass (sod) that can require 4 pounds of nitrogen per year, the campus uses its own blend, some of which requires less than half a pound of nitrogen per year.

“The seed mixes we are using are pretty drought tolerant, require less utility, and are pretty wear tolerant,” said Stadler. “We want all of our genetics to be sustainable, and low maintenance by design.”

If all goes well, this project should create a good playing surface for roughly 40 years to come. For Stadler, longevity all comes down to saving water, and doing what’s best for the turf. In addition a reduction of injuries is inevitable.

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