VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- After months of construction that began in November, Vandenberg approaches the unveiling of a new artificial turf athletic field.
With construction of the field itself recently completed, the area is expected to officially reopen this month, following minor finishing touches and approval from base leadership.
“Unfortunately, our previous natural surface field was becoming increasingly dangerous because of the poor conditions caused by excessive use and gophers,” said Pam Coffey, 30th Force Support Squadron fitness center director. “A lack of maintenance due to limited funding and the current drought restrictions, caused the field conditions to suffer tremendously – to the point of closure due to safety concerns. The Civil Engineer Squadron supported us as best they could, however, resurfacing, rodent mesh and reseeding was costly year after year. Artificial turf seemed like a viable option and has been on the forefront for many years. The installation of artificial turf will allow for a safe and effective playing surface for various sports as well as unit Physical Training. Artificial turf can provide a positive environmental impact as well, especially considering our current drought issues.”
Working with base organizations like the 30th CES and 30th Contracting Squadron, a contracted construction firm installed the new field – despite rain delays.
“T. Simons Co., Inc. was the prime contractor on this project,” said Anthony Hooper, T. Simons Co., Inc. SABER project manager. “Our firm self-preformed the preparation of the field for the turf and goal post installation. This included excavation and removal of the existing field, installation of new drainage, gravel sub-base and grading. We encountered rain delays which put the project on hold for two and a half months. The wet weather prevented us from working as originally intended. We also worked with the 30th Contracting Squadron through multiple design changes to find the best appropriate logo to represent the VAFB Hawks on the field.”
With the safety and morale of Vandenberg Airmen in mind, the decision to install artificial turf not only made economic sense, but also executes the Air Force priority of taking care of its most valuable asset – the Airmen.
“I am hoping to see a decrease in injuries, previously caused by our field conditions,” said Coffey. “Additionally, I am looking forward to having a sports field that will accommodate year-round activities, allowing us to add to our program offerings and enhance the overall morale of the Vandenberg community. I think the possibilities are endless.”
The civilian contractors who made the project happen, maintain a strong sense of job satisfaction and enjoyed the opportunity to give back to the members of a military base.
“Projects like this are unique in that they bring a certain sense of pride upon completion,” said Hooper. “This includes knowing that our firm was successfully a part of a project that so many others have worked hard for and have the same pride upon completion. It’s a great feeling to know we have made an impact on the lives of so many who do so much for us.”
Reminiscent of professional athletic fields, members of the fitness center are confident the new addition to Vandenberg will go over well with sports and fitness enthusiasts of all kinds.
“Our new artificial turf field is fantastic,” said Coffey. “Once you step on it, you feel like you are ready for the pros! Having the field will ignite the spark in all the athletes. Whether you played as a child, in high school, college, no matter your level of experience, you will have the desire to get back out there. Since the start of the project, we have received numerous phone calls and inquiries as to when it will be completed. Everyone can’t wait to get out there and play. It’s really exciting to see all the enthusiasm pertaining to the field.”
Rules for the new turf field are as follows: Molded cleats or other athletic shoes only. No sharp objects, including tent stakes, corner flags or other objects that can penetrate the surface of the field. No food items, including gum and sunflower seeds. No tobacco products of any kind. No sports drinks or liquids, other than water. No pets. No bicycles, or other unapproved vehicles. Approved athletic equipment only. For more information on the new field, contact the fitness center at 805-606-3832.