Precise requirements met in initial construction phases of NCAA certification track and field.
It’s flatter than flat. The surface of the new Pratt Community College combination track and soccer field is designed to be so flat that when a soccer ball is kicked, it won’t automatically roll towards the sidelines. Details on construction emerged Friday as concrete was poured for curbing and event stations.
There is just a 0.63 percent slope from the center of the field to the edge for a change in elevation of just eight inches. A special drainage system is built into the field to allow water to flow to drainage pipes, said Jake Brand, project superintendent for Law Company that is the general contractor for the project.
A chief goal for this project is to produce a track and soccer facility that meets National Collegiate Athletic Association specifications so regional events can be held at the site, said Darrell Shumway, member of the PCC Board of Trustees.
The NCAA requirements are so precise that it takes longer to complete the project to make certain everything meets the necessary tolerances, said Vance Rzepka, USR Design architect who designed the field.
Part of that precision includes a concrete curb that runs the full length of the inside and outside of the track around the soccer field. Cornejo and Sons Construction of Wichita, along with Concrete Enterprises of Pratt, recently added those curbs that required some 100 yards of concrete for the 3,300 feet long project.
Cornejo used a special machine to continuously pour the dry mix concrete curb using a type of “mule” form that automatically produces the type of curb necessary. The machine can also be configured to pour standard curb and gutter for a street using a different type of “mule.”
Rzepka was on hand to watch the pour and review the rest of the project. Rzepka said the design tolerances on the track and field project were very particular to meet NCAA requirements. Some of the tolerances on the track at taken to four decimal places.
Because of NCAA requirements and for any records set on the track, everything about this project has to be done very precisely and that means it takes more time to get everything right.
“The NCAA is real particular on tolerances. It’s as close as you can get to perfect,” Rzepka said. “It’s going to take longer to build.”
There was a delay in starting the pour because problem with a vibrator on the machine necessary to get the concrete into the curb trench around the field. Once the problem was resolved, the machine slowly made its way around the field, Brand said.
Darrell Shumway, Pratt Community College Trustee, who was on hand to watch the new curb go in, said the concrete used for the curb was a dry mix so it could be free standing and not need forms.
The curb pour was longer around a soccer field than it would have been around a football field because a soccer field is wider than a football field. This works to the advantage of track runners because it gives them a wider turn radius that is easier to run, Shumway said.
The curb provides the edges of the track that will consist of five inches of asphalt over four inches of crushed rock.
Construction is taking place at various parts of the new facility at the same time. While the curb was being poured, local contractor Smiley Concrete was pouring the sidewalk from the parking lot to the discus, javelin, shot put and hammer throw area.
Another recent addition to the site is the trusses for the concessions stand and restroom buildings.
An Ephesus lighting system was installed with lights that can be controlled from a cell phone. They are designed so they come on immediately and don’t require a warmup period. The lights can also produce some special effects during events, Brand said.
Like many other construction projects in and around Pratt, this project had some delays because of excessive rain in May but the project is back on its timetable and is heading towards its completion in late October as planned, Brand said.
As each element is completed, the final appearance of the facility will take shape. With the state of the art track and field and lighting system, this new PCC sports facility will be an impressive addition to the Pratt community.
“It’s going to look great,” Rzepka said.