BABSON PARK, Mass. -- This summer's major renovations of Babson's MacDowell Field complex are nearing completion as the start of the school year approaches. Among the upgrades are a brand new surface and E-layer, new ornamental fencing, and a widening of the pathway between the field and bleachers.
Originally built in 2001, MacDowell Field featured an AstroTurf playing surface for its first 11 years of existence. This summer, that surface was replaced with A-Turf - an in-fill system featuring five-eighths inch monofilament fibers with a nylon root zone. In addition, the E-layer - the cushioning layer immediately below the surface - was also replaced, resulting in improved drainage and cushion for the entire facility.
Also part of the resurfacing project, the fencing surrounding the field was replaced and the turf was extended all the way to the new fencing, replacing the grass strip that previously outlined the field. During this process, the asphalt walkway between the turf and the bleachers was widened, and the netting behind the goal areas at each end of the field was replaced. The final aspect of the project - a new Aegis Plus ornamental steel fencing on the northeast end of the complex facing the Webster Center – should be completed by the end of the week.
The home of Babson's field hockey, men's lacrosse, and women's lacrosse teams, MacDowell Field also serves as a year-round practice facility for several other varsity programs. Additionally, the field is used by many other constituents, including club and intramural teams.
"The turf change will be a nice upgrade for the entire Babson community," said Andy Dutton, Assistant Athletics Director for Facilities and Recreation. "The benefits of this new surface extend far beyond our varsity programs. A turf that is more grass-like is exactly what campus recreation and club sports have been craving for several years."
Men’s lacrosse coach Brendan Gorman and field hockey coach Julie Ryan also lauded the new surface.
“Our program is very excited about the new turf on MacDowell field,” says third-year men’s lacrosse coach Brendan Gorman. “Babson was able to get a custom-made product that will allow us to continue to develop our up-tempo style of play but on a softer and more forgiving surface. This project really shows how dedicated the College is to ensuring the student-athletes here have a first-class experience.”
“The field hockey program has had a great transition on the new turf,” said Ryan, whose team began its preseason training on the field this past Friday. “We have found the speed of the ball to be comparable to the old AstroTurf, but with much less bounce. After a week of preseason training, we are also finding much less soreness in the shins from the impact of the turf. We are truly thrilled to have this new surface. The ability to prepare on a surface similar to our opponents will be so valuable for us this season.”