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Ready to get its kicks: Construction of new soccer fields finished

WORTHINGTON -- Buss Field's renovation -- including three new soccer fields, a parking lot and detention pond -- is complete. Adrian contractor Henning Construction hauled in more than 50,000 cubic yards of dirt to create the surface, after which...

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An aerial view of the newly renovated Buss Field. (Special to the Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - Buss Field’s renovation - including three new soccer fields, a parking lot and detention pond - is complete.

Adrian contractor Henning Construction hauled in more than 50,000 cubic yards of dirt to create the surface, after which Blue Valley Sod laid out 10-plus acres of sod to put a bow on the project. It’s all up to the sod to do its job now, as the roots grow into the soil through the winter.

City Administrator Steve Robinson said experts from Blue Valley Sod were confident the field would be ready for play by next summer.

Two of the fields are college regulation-sized, while the southeasternmost field is slightly smaller - 35 feet shorter and 20 feet narrower.

Water drainage was the top priority for the new fields, as the old soccer fields were steadily ruined by flooding.

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“Before, the field was kind of a bowl, so if water got in there, there was nowhere for it to go,” Robinson said. “We built it from the ground up so that water could drain off the field and then have a place to collect it between the fields. The secret to a good athletic field is to get good drainage so that it doesn't become soggy and wet and the turf tears up when playing under less than ideal conditions.”

Hidden underneath the grass, a herringbone pattern drain tile system collects water and connects into another drain system that will then drain into a detention pond. Dips in between the fields assist water runoff as well.

The $1.2 million project is funded through redirecting existing money originally budgeted for Prairie View Golf Links under the current levy.

Henning subcontracted Worthington-based Groninga Construction to build the field’s concrete parking lot off of Sherwood Street. The project was approved by city council Aug. 22 and work began shortly after.

Robinson was stunned the fields were completed in about 60 days.  

“It’s one of the few construction projects I've ever been involved with where everything fell into place in such a tough schedule,” Robinson said.

The opinion of soccer players was a factor in the field’s design. Early on, artificial turf was pitched, but kids from the youth teams said they’d played on them and weren’t happy about how hot the field surface got.

The soccer complex will be open to the public, although Robinson said he anticipates the Minnesota West Community and Technical College soccer team will use it as its home field.

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Robinson said the new fields will receive much better care than their predecessors - the old fields became so deteriorated that the city couldn’t do typical turf care such as overseeding.

“The position I had is, if we’re going to spend a million dollars on a soccer field, we’re going to make sure we have everything there to sustain them and maintain them in good playing conditions,” Robinson said.

This includes turf care such as fertilizing and overseeding, as well as an irrigation system. That also means the field will be slightly more expensive to maintain.

In the past, the city spent $2,000 a year just mowing the fields, a fee paid for by the adult soccer league. Robinson expects that cost to rise, but noted the city wouldn’t have to replace the fields if they are maintained properly.

“If we take care of it and maintain it, there should be no reason these fields wouldn’t last indefinitely,” Robinson said.


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