Campus Construction Update, week of July 12: Garcelon Field

Garcelon curb and berm

We all know that being able to deal effectively with boundary issues is key to a well-evolved personality.

The Garcelon Field renovation passed such a developmental milestone July 8 with the completion of its concrete “anchor curb.” This low concrete wall around the playing area, says project manager Mike Gustin, “kind of confines the field.”

In other words, the curb will hold in place the layers of FieldTurf synthetic playing surface, crushed stone, drain pipes, gravel and so forth that constitute the new playing field. It’ll also serve as the foundation for a chain-link fence surrounding the field scheduled for mid-August installation.

There’s an anchor curb around the 10-year-old AstroTurf field on Campus Avenue that actually helps keep the playing surface from rising up in a strong wind and wrapping John Bertram Hall like a big green sarong.

All right, those aren’t Gustin’s exact words, but the playing surface is in fact fastened onto the curb. Gustin, when allowed to choose his own words, explains that “there is a groove on top of the curb, and they tucked the carpet of the AstroTurf down inside and drove a plastic rope down” to retain it.

At Garcelon, the FieldTurf will be weighted down by a mixture of sand and little rubber bits that give the FieldTurf its “real-grass” playing quality. The edge of the turf will rest in a notch that goes around the inside of the curb.

Different times, different ways of dealing with boundary issues.

You won’t see much of the curb when all is said and done. A walkway, to be paved in a couple of weeks, will surround it and the playing field itself will obscure its interior.

Meanwhile, workers continue to spread gravel over the field itself and to lay the drainage system. You can see a series of black pipes curling up out of the ground inside the curb: To these collectors, workers will attach flat drains that will run across the field, cozy in a bed of crushed stone. Gustin expects the pipes and stone to start going down next week, after the gravel and a layer of fabric are laid.

In other Garcelon news, electricians installed a new step-down transformer at the Residential Village last week. These gizmos take high voltage from the grid and step it down to voltages that customers can use. The new unit will continue to feed service-level voltage to the Village, but also pass on the high-proof stuff to a second step-down transformer for the playing field.

Gustin notes that Bates rents the transformers from Central Maine Power.

Finally, a group representing several Bates offices last week finalized the color choices for the new grandstand and press box. The theme is black, natural aluminum and garnet.

The chain-link fence, elements of the grandstand, the scoreboard and the press box will be black. “We saw pictures of the new stadium at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and their press box is black. It looks really sharp,” says Gustin. Black paint, he adds, “will help warm the press box on those cold fall days.”

The remainder of the bleachers will be garnet and aluminum. “In the center section of the grandstand will be plastic seats with armrests, and those are going to be the garnet color,” he explains.

“All the seats outside of that section will be aluminum planks, like regular bleachers. But the riser panels will be black. So we thought it would all tie in quite nicely together.”

Read about the renovation of Hedge and Roger Williams halls.

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