The Peninsula College soccer teams now have their own version of the Ark.
With the completion of the artificial turf field, the P.C. soccer teams will have one of the leading athletic fields in the region and insurance against monsoon rains.
The verdant expanse is capable of draining 50 inches of rain per hour, according to athletic director Rick Ross, which will allow the Pirates to train or play even after the most extreme Northwest downpours.
The field will be referred to as Sigmar Field, in honor of Wally Sigmar, the former P.C. president who died in 2000.
The $1.45 million project includes about 9,200 linear feet of drainage beneath the playing surface, said Deborah Frazier, vice president for administrative services.
The field acts as its own stormwater retention pond and can be drained manually, added Frazier.
“The main expense on the project was drainage,” Ross said. “We shouldn’t ever see standing water on the field.”
Kanyon Anderson, women’s soccer coach, said that this will provide a welcome opportunity after being limited in preseason practices this year.
“We trained outside competitively for maybe three months this year,” said Anderson. “Now we can train. If there is not snow on the field, we can play on it.”
The Pirates will have more opportunities to practice on the pitch than when they played on natural grass surfaces because the new field will not become muddy from continual use. The new surface also may slightly reduce injuries.
Below the turf at Sigmar Field sit approximately 800,000 pounds of rubber and sand, which will provide an extra cushion for players. Injuries will be reduced primarily by alleviating the pounding that a player’s joints would suffer from playing on grass and the prevention of ankle injuries caused by slipping or stepping awkwardly in a muddy area, Anderson said. Construction on the project began in September 2010 but the idea of putting in an artificial turf field at the school has long been on Ross’ mind.
They started thinking about the need for a new field “after our first season being on the other field (original Sigmar Field),” said Ross.
Since Peninsula began the men’s soccer program in 2000, the college athletic department recognized that the natural grass field would not withstand wet Northwest falls and nearly everyday use by the team.
Although the turf has been completely installed and the field appears ready for off-season drills and workouts, more work remains to be done on the facility.
The backstops behind the goals are badly misaligned, a problem that does not prevent play but needs to be remedied.
The north end of the east backstop is egregiously misaligned, extending at least 10 feet past the point where the opposing backstop ends.
It is unclear when the Pirates will be able to practice on the freshly minted pitch, but men’s soccer coach Andrew Chapman says his squad will not hesitate to examine their new digs once construction is finished.
Bleachers and four light posts, one in each corner of the facility, eventually will be installed, said Ross.
The infrastructure for the bleachers and the lights is installed and was included in the preliminary $ 1.45 million budget, said Frazier, though the cost of the materials is not in the original budget. “The athletic department plans to fundraise the money for these items,” she said.
After 10 years at the original Sigmar Field and then this past season at Civic Field, both natural-grass fields, the Pirates may have to adjust to the quicker style of play that is inherent with artificial turf.
“You can keep the ball on the turf more,” said Anderson. “We’ve had years where we had the skill to play a good possession game, but not the field.”
Chapman, whose team won the NWAACC championship on turf last fall, said his team won’t need a lot of time to adjust to the home turf.
Sigmar Field is 10 yards wider than the configuration used last year at Civic Field, which Chapman says will allow the Pirates to play more to their strengths. Anderson noted that his players understood that there were areas of the Civic Field pitch that were sloped, slower than others or simply consistently muddy.
That knowledge gave his players a slight edge over their opponents, even if it was only mental, said Anderson.
“We may have lost a little bit of that (home-field advantage), but we will be able to recruit more talent,” Anderson said.
“This field is going to be a great recruiting tool for athletes,” Ross said.