Fields Of Green

The Thurston County/City of Lacey Regional Athletic Center (RAC) is already regarded as one of the finest outdoor sporting venues in Washington state.

The Thurston County/City of Lacey Regional Athletic Center in Washington.

The 100-acre complex features:

• Six regulation soccer fields, including one with all-weather turf and lighting

• Four regulation softball fields with synthetic-turf infields and lighting

• One minor-league-rated baseball field with a synthetic-turf infield and lighting

• Electronic scoreboards

• Two concession buildings

• Five large picnic shelters

• Spectator seating

• Three playgrounds

• Two miles of walking and jogging paths

• A kite-flying hill

• Three basketball half-courts

• A 6-acre outdoor event and festival area.

Parking includes 500 paved spots as well as an unpaved overflow for 500 vehicles.

Nearly 20 acres of the site have been preserved to protect native oak savannahs.

The project was designed by the Tacoma landscape architecture firm Bruce Dees & Associates, and constructed by Ceccanti Inc. With its second phase reaching completion two years ago, the complex fills a major void in the recreational needs of the community.

A central element in the design was a focus on maintenance, which was accomplished by involving maintenance personnel.

Waste Nothing

The intent to “waste nothing” is the spirit of the project. Strippings from all graded areas were screened and recycled for topsoil. The tailings were then used to shape “Kite Hill”–a natural feature of the site.

To accommodate the massive earthwork, two of the six fields that lay on a naturally raised elevation were used as a dynamic soil reservoir for balancing cut-and-fill operations.

As excavation revealed buried deposits of unsuitable soil, that material was removed and used as non-structural fill to enhance the shape of “Kite Hill,” while the suitable soil from the two fields provided structural-replacement fill.

By recycling material on-site, economic and ecologic savings were realized through eliminating the need for exporting or importing soil, thus reducing fossil-fuel consumption.

Maintenance is easy on the RAC ballfields.

Matt Johns, the RAC Park Maintenance Manager, conducted a testing regime that gathered soil samples throughout the screened topsoil areas of the site. Johns coordinated the results with the design of a fertilizing program to sustain a thriving grass/lawn area. Today, the 13 acres of recycled soil lawn are lush and green.

Pre-design geotechnical studies were used to influence the layout of activities and support facilities. Areas with high infiltration rates became locations for the athletic fields, while less intensive uses were placed on areas of lower permeability.

The majority of the 2 miles of trails are pervious asphalt, and the pervious concrete ball-field complex plaza allows infiltration directly under it. As a result, the plaza was constructed flat, and the cost of expensive storm-water facilities for collection and conveyance was avoided.

With direct infiltration of the fields and pervious paving, storm-water infiltration pond size was minimized, while active recreation space was maximized.

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