Field note

Spruce Grove scores a touchdown with new $12M recreational facility

Back on June 7, the Edmonton Eskimos took to the field in Spruce Grove as part of the grand opening celebrations for the city's new outdoor sport and recreational facility, West District Park.


The $12-million facility is home to the first twin synthetic turf field in the province. "We're calling it a state-of-the-art twin synthetic field athletic park," says Paul Feser, recreation and outdoor development supervisor for the City of Spruce Grove.

Each field has spectator seating for more than a thousand, lighting, and public address systems. The facility also includes a $3-million, 24,000 sq ft. field house with four dressing rooms, an officials' room, storage, staff offices, and an open-air viewing deck.

Approximately 300 parking spaces were constructed and the 22-acre site was fully landscaped.

Although significantly more expensive than natural fields, synthetic turf is increasingly popular for soccer and football fields. "You can have multiple cycles on a synthetic field, whereas on a natural grass field you need to basically give your field a rest and a breather between uses," says Art Maat, president of Wilco Contractors NW Inc.

Wilco Contractors NW served as general contractor on the West District Park project. The Wilco Group of companies has constructed dozens of both natural and synthetic fields across western Canada. Maat says that many communities like Spruce Grove are choosing to install one or two synthetic fields that can be used continuously.

"Rather than have 10 natural grass fields all over the city without any one of them having a good facility and bleachers and stadium lighting, now they can focus on developing one top-notch field," he explains.

There are also environmental benefits to synthetic turf-it doesn't require watering, fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide.

Wilco performed 95 per cent of the work on the West District Park, including major site grading; underground utilities; parking lot construction; field construction and drainage; all site landscaping; and installation of scoreboards, lighting, and bleachers. Subcontractor Dominion Construction constructed the field house and concession area. The turf was supplied and installed by FieldTurf Tarkett.

One of the challenges of synthetic fields is that the substructure of the field must be constructed to stringent tolerances. Synthetic fields need to drain perfectly in all weather conditions if communities are going to be able to reap the benefit of advance playability.

Laser-controlled graders and other equipment combined with GPS coordination allow Wilco to create level substructures with excellent drainage. "If you're going to spend this much money on a field, it needs to be constructed to world-class tolerances and you can't have dips or variations in grade," Maat says.

Construction took just one year, something Feser attributes to years of planning and Wilco's efforts.

Feser and his colleagues are enjoying the reaction of visitors to West District Park. Says Feser: "Their jaws hit the ground. It's a very, very attractive and functional facility. It has exceeded everyone's expectations."



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