Turf Installation Begins at New Arrocha Ballpark Wednesday
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The sounds of a track and field camp and heavy machinery mixed in a chorus of continued progress at Rock Chalk Park Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn’t just audibly where the lines between finished and unfinished were being blurred. A group of workers from Hellas Construction took their turn working on the massive project in northwest Lawrence, beginning the installation of the artificial turf at the new Arrocha Ballpark, home of Kansas softball.
By midday the turf had been laid out and arranged throughout the outfield and in foul territory, giving shape to the infield and a glimpse of what the finished product might look like. Equipment to distribute the fill material – a layer of sand and rubber pellets – was expected to be delivered Wednesday evening and the next stages of the turf installation to continue over the next several days. The synthetic turf system will provide a similar playing experience to natural grass – the surface the team plays on at the current site, south of Allen Fieldhouse – with the added benefit of reduced maintenance costs and condition of the field over time, regardless of weather conditions.
The turf is the latest progression at a completely new softball complex that includes on-site locker rooms, offices, training facilities, indoor practice areas, a grandstand with chairback seating and press box, among other standard amenities. Kansas recently completed the 2014 season with a 34-23 record, including a win over No. 19 Nebraska in the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006. Kansas has posted four straight 30 win seasons under head coach Megan Smith, who will lead the Jayhawks into her sixth season at the new ballpark in the spring.
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