BU logo, sand complete field at Liston Stadium
Baker University football coach Mike Grossner returned from Green Bay, Wisc., on Monday to see the his Wildcat field finished.
Grossner came home to Baldwin City to view the completed artificial turf field at Baker's historic Liston Stadium.
"The field and turf have turned out great," Grossner said. "It's exactly how we envisioned on paper. It's even above and beyond what I envisioned. I think it's a fantastic facility, especially with all of the upgrades they are doing now. Once that track goes in, it will make the entire project complete."
Grossner had been helping his good friend Mike McCarthy, first-year Green Bay Packers head coach, with a football camp in Wisconsin for two weeks.
Upon his return to Baker, Grossner was treated with a gift: a finished field.
"We did a unique thing with the multi-color turf, which I think looks great," Grossner said. "The soccer lines blend right in with the football field. The orange fits in great, since it's our school color."
Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg also thinks highly of the new field.
"I think it's really beautiful," Berg said. "We are very lucky to be able to use it. The football team is going to like it, along with the rest of our league."
On Monday morning, Baker Athletic Director Dan Harris saw the finishing touches of the field.
"At 10:30 this morning, we did our final walk through and got things finalized," Harris said Monday. "The field is down and it looks beautiful. I really like the alternating green colors every 10 yards and the logo in the middle came out exceptionally well.
"Another good thing we did was change the soccer lines from yellow to orange," Harris said. "I think that really stood out much better with the green. For soccer or football, it is fantastic."
Harris is planning on the Baker soccer teams playing a few games at Liston Stadium this year, with the other still being hosted at North Park.
"They will play some games out there, but not all," Harris said. "We are still going to play junior high, high school, our junior varsity football, soccer, soccer JV and our varsity football there. So there are going to be a lot of contests out there, so it's a matter of coordinating it all."
The final steps in finishing the field were the logo in the middle of the field and adding sand and rubber to the artificial turf.
Baker chose a BU logo for the center of the field, instead of a Wildcat. Harris said the reason was simple.
"I've been here 25 years and I've been through five different Wildcats," Harris said. "We didn't want to take a chance with a Wildcat logo on the field that might change in five years. We went with our licensed BU logo and I actually really like that look."
Then the work crews added rubber and sand to the field, finishing it up last week.
"The turf is all done," Harris said. "The sand and rubber are in. The only thing we have left is the goals, which will come in a couple weeks."
Harris said the field might need more sand after a few years.
"It's rare, but maybe three to five years," Harris said of the sand. "Most of the time the sand settles in. For the most part, it's fairly low maintenance, besides having to groom the field for play."
On the right track
Since the field inside Liston Stadium is completed, Baker will now turn its attention to finishing the track, parking lots and visitor bleachers.
Harris said he thinks the construction is still on schedule to be completed in July, but he isn't completely sure.
"We're pretty much on target," Harris said. "We've got so many things going on, it's hard to evaluate that. We are going to start the track on Tuesday."
The first step in replacing the track surface will be to prepare asphalt base, which has been damaged during the construction. Then the other phases of the project will begin and should be completed soon.
"They are going to come in next week and start doing the asphalt underbase, which will have to have some repairs done to it, because of he heavy trucks we have had in there for the turf," Harris said. "The concrete for the visitor's bleachers is being poured today. In two weeks, those bleachers will go up. The north parking lot was being torn up today. It is being graded, leveled and marked."
The preparation for the track surface will the majority of time remaining in the project, because the base will take a while to repair.
"Getting ready for the track is the longest work, because of the asphalt underneath," Harris said. "Then it takes about two weeks to come in and lay the track down. The track just rolls out as an eight-lane track and then glues down to a pad. The track, concrete curb and turf will all be one level when they get done."
After the track is done, Baker might add a storage shed south of the stadium.
"If it is still part of the project, we are looking at putting a storage shed below the hill and outside softball's left field fence," Harris said. "We are going to need some place to store the groomer for the field and the tractor and mowing equipment for the other fields. I think we are going to put a shed down there to house that equipment."
Then there might be a few other small projects in and around the stadium for Baker.
"Down the road, we will look at beautifying Second Street," Harris said. "We have all of the asphalt work done that we are going to do. We are going to redo that driveway that comes into the double gate on the west side. We've got some fence to put up on the short wall on the north side. Then we will have a good secure facility."
After the entire project is complete, Liston Stadium should be free from dust, according to Harris.
"One of the greatest parts about this whole project is the dust control," Harris said. "There is going to be hardly any dust out there at all. No gravel parking lots, no gravel roads and no grass inside the stadium. We are really cleaning up that whole area and I think it's going to be great for the community around the stadium."