Softball fields out of use while improper soil is replaced

The softball fields looked unusual as students drove around Metzger Drive during the first two weeks of the semester. The grass grew higher than usual and the facility itself seemed neglected. That is because the softball fields are being repaired after the outfield soil was found to be different than what was agreed upon.

According to Matt Golden, director of Communications and Media Relations, “the original soil materials installed by the contractor did not match the samples approved by the architect.”

“The contractor will be replacing the soil and sod over the next month or so,” Golden said.

Tara Harrigan, senior physical education and health and exercise science major and the third baseman for the softball team, said that the “pH levels of the soil weren’t right, so the sod didn’t take as well as planned.”

“The soil quality was not up to standard and the vendor is replacing it at no expense to the College,” Golden said.

The softball team used the fields last season, but Harrigan said the incorrect soil didn’t affect the team’s performance.

“We were just happy to finally have a field on campus,” she said. “And now the proper people are just trying to get it above and beyond that level.”

Along with the soil, Golden said, there are a few other minor things that are being fixed.

“They are planning on doing some repairs to try and fix the outfield and double check the drainage,” Harrigan said.

Although the fields were completed last spring, the athletic fields project as a whole is still deemed “under construction,” according to the Web site of Campus Planning and Construction.

The entire project was done as a part of the “$250 million facilities master plan” that was approved in 2001 by the Board of Trustees as a nine-year development. The fields were moved closer to Metzger Drive to accommodate the Lot 6 parking garage.

The architect of the project, Kinsey Associates, also designed the Spiritual Center that opened in December 2004.

While the season doesn’t start until spring, the softball team will play a few scrimmages at other locations.

According to the team’s Web site, they “will take the field for three games this fall, participating in the Fall Softball Scrimmage Mixer hosted by Mercer County Community College on Saturday, Sept. 30.”

“They hope to get us out on the field as soon as possible,” Harrigan said.