Outdoor fields concept images revealed

Estimated project completion date: Summer 2016 (Near West Fields), Summer 2019 (University Bay Fields – dependent on private donor, not included in Spring 2014 referendum), Summer 2022 (Near East Fields)

The following images are conceptual in nature and the layout of the new outdoor fields could change throughout the design process. More detailed images of the fields will be released at the beginning of the second semester. Please check back in January for updates!

The new fields will include the following features and amenities:

  • 3 lighted outdoor activity spaces (Near West, Near East, and University Bay)
  • Ecofill synthetic turf fields in some locations (infill made from recycled materials; environmental impact study will be completed at all locations prior to installation)
  • 5 Flag Football fields at Near West
  • 5 Soccer fields at Near East (including one championship field)
  • 2 Softball Fields at University Bay
  • Baseball Field at University Bay
  • 2 each, Lacrosse and Rugby fields at University Bay
  • Soccer/Ultimate Frisbee field at University Bay
  • 2 picnic shelters with concession windows, storage, and restrooms at University Bay
  • 1.5-mile parcourse fitness track at University Bay
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10 thoughts on “Outdoor fields concept images revealed

    1. The EcoFill infill synthetic turf system is fully permeable from a storm-water standpoint. The turf is installed on top of a granular, gravel base, not concrete or asphalt, so the rainwater drains through the artificial turf just like natural turf. We would likely have to install additional underdrains to capture significant rainfall events and direct overflow to our existing storm-water management facilities (bioswales & detention ponds).

  1. Sorry for the barrage of questions, but… Is there a documented need for so many fields and concessions? How many games take place at night to warrant lighting? Will any of the lighting be on regardless of games in session? If so, how will that impact the wildlife and stargazing for residents?

    1. Rec Sports consistently denies reservation requests because of the poor quality of our fields (flooding and wet fields account for around 50% of our game cancellations each year). We try to maintain the fields in good playing condition for as long as possible for the UW students who use them as part of our programs. The number of fields included in the Master Plan is due to current activity and desired use for field space. Our outdoor clubs hope to practice and host tournaments on campus, which some of them are currently unable to do. As for the number of fields, the Master Plan is not looking to increase the amount of fields but rather to increase the usability for its 41 sport clubs and Intramural Sports program.

      The lighting will only be on when spaces are being utilized. We currently have no lighting on our fields and when the days get shorter, this means play has to stop by 4:30 or 5pm — before most students are even out of class. The lighting would allow students to play longer seasons and offer additional opportunities for our Intramural and Sport Clubs participants. At the same time, Rec Sports understands that there are noise and light ordinances in that area of campus and is engaging community members in conversations in order to avoid significant disruptions to the surrounding neighborhoods.

      The University Bay fields are not included in the referendum, the portion of the Master Plan that students will vote on as part of the spring elections in March. Rec Sports is seeking private funding for this area.

  2. As a resident of Eagle Heights across the street from the University Bay complex (and though we might not be around in 2019, probably not, but the concerns still stand for future generations of Eagle Heights 100s residents!), I am concerned with the plans for revamping the fields across from my home. First off, in the summer, we frequently cross University Bay Drive to run around in the fields with my two small children. It doesn’t look like there will be as much open space for free play, and there will probably be an increase in traffic on University Bay Drive.

    I echo the issue with the parking lot and the bike path towards the Waisman Center, we sometimes walk down that path, and I know there are families in Eagle Heights with children at the Waisman Center childcare facilities who walk down the path. It would be really stressful for those of us with little kids who would need to worry about them getting hit by a car while we are walking or biking.

    My final concern is light pollution and noise. As we live right across from the fields and our front windows open right onto the fields (and in the summertime are often open at night since we don’t have A/C), I imagine it might be extremely annoying to have all that night and noise at night… I don’t know how the trees will block out light and noise, maybe it will be enough.

    The plans reveal that some of the fields will be astroturf. While I have not doubt of the commitment to eco-friendliness, I wonder how it will change the organic nature of the fields and the marsh.

    Have you considered putting up a super awesome play structure around the picnic shelter? We sometimes take our kids over to watch rugby or intramural soccer games, and having a nice place to play around the picnic shelter would be great for families, similar to some Madison parks (Rennebohm is the one that comes to mind first off, that place is great!) I imagine the picnic shelter will take rentals for gatherings?

    1. Rec Sports has no intention to decrease open recreational usage but rather to make it more accessible to community and drop-in activities while simultaneously meeting the needs of our scheduled programs. We will work directly with Campus Facility Planning & Management on all safety issues at the University Bay site if and when funding is secured (this site, while part of the overall Master Plan, is not included in the spring referendum to be voted on by students; Rec Sports is seeking private donations for that site). Any decisions about safety will be handled by the campus.

      We are planning to do an environmental assessment at all sites before moving forward with the design process. All images that you see are conceptual — not finalized — designs.

      As for your comments about the play structure and picnic shelter rentals, these are great ideas that we are definitely considering! Thanks for sharing!

  3. It looks like there will be a parking lot added on the University Bay Fields, by the Waisman center. Does this mean that cars will be going over the bike path between the Waisman and the fields? This doesn’t seem a very safe option for all the bikers (incl kids) that use that path.

    1. Any of the parking and pedestrian traffic flow would be coordinated by University Transportation. We are certain that all safety measures would be taken under full consideration before moving forward with any plans.

      1. There will need to be stop signs on the bike path where the parking lot entry drive crosses the path and signage that notes there is a bike path crossing in the area.

      2. I feel that it will become a battle between safety and convenience. Right now, anyone can ride/walk along that stretch of the fields without having to worry about cars. If cars are going to cross the path, it will change the feel of the fields on that side.

        I think additional parking lots like these are better positioned on the other side of the fields, where people can just drive into them from University Bay Drive.

        How about putting this parking lot on the other side of the 2 soccer fields?

        Parking would still be in a convenient location and the bike path (also used by pedestrians) can stay a carefree area for anyone to enjoy walking and biking on, while attending any of the events on the fields.

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