Field renovation set for June

The girls JV lacrosse team practiced recently on Strawberry Fields at the end of Hostmark. Plans to revamp the fields will be held off until after the regional Viking Cup soccer matches.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
The girls JV lacrosse team practiced recently on Strawberry Fields at the end of Hostmark. Plans to revamp the fields will be held off until after the regional Viking Cup soccer matches.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

t Construction on Strawberry Field, stadium to start after Viking Cup.

POULSBO — North Kitsap’s soccer contingent can relax, as the construction for the North Kitsap Regional Events Center (NKREC) will begin in June. The construction will not interfere with the Memorial Day soccerfest that is Viking Cup.

The North Kitsap School District hosted a public discussion Tuesday night on NKREC at Poulsbo Elementary. The NKREC encompasses the installation of artificial turf, new stadium lights and the conversion of the track from yards to meters at the North Kitsap High stadium and improvements to Strawberry Field. In the track conversion, the track will be resurfaced and the existing flaws in the surface will be fixed. Strawberry Field, located across the street from North Kitsap High, will be leveled out and have lacrosse markings added.

Don Campbell, landscape architect project manager with Tacoma-based Bruce Dees and Associates, provided the handful of residents who attended the meeting with a project timeline.

In May, signs will be posted at Strawberry Field to notify the public of the upcoming construction. Strawberry Field will close for public use on June 1, while the high school stadium will close for public use on June 16. Barring any unforeseen circumstance, the stadium should be ready for use on Sept. 5 — just in time for the beginning of high school football. The target date for Strawberry Field’s readiness is Oct. 16.

The date for final completion is Nov. 5 for the stadium and Dec. 15 for Strawberry Field.

There will be a period of time when the work is substantially complete, but a few checklist items will need to be finished.

Aaron Vernik, president of the North Kitsap Soccer Club, was visibly relieved after hearing the construction will not interfere with Viking Cup. Viking Cup is a soccer tournament that draws a crowd of about 3,000 soccer lovers and occupies every available patch of grass in North Kitsap that’s big enough for a soccer game.

The timing of Viking Cup was a consideration for the timeline, Campbell said.

Others in the crowd, too, were satisfied that construction was kosher with their plans for summer’s sporting events and life in general.

North Kitsap High football coaching legend Jerry Parrish said the artificial turf will have positive benefits for all students, not just those who participate in sports.

The artificial turf has been known to “increase PE outside by 80 percent because there’s no mud,” Parrish said, citing a colleague’s experience. It will also extend the life of the uniforms, he said, because there’s no mud or grass stains, which translates to less washing.

One interesting factoid about the turf is that it creates a static electricity effect when it is brand new. The static electricity can be controlled by spraying diluted liquid fabric softener onto the surface, Campbell said.

Campbell also said the new artificial turf, Mondo turf, will save about $10,000 in annual maintenance costs.

One of the concerns discussed was the responsiveness of the company installing the turf. In the event repairs are needed, Campbell reassured that the company installing the turf, Mondo USA, will be responsive. It also helps that Mondo USA has representation in Redmond.

“This is their showcase field in this part of the country,” Campbell said. The turf has an expected life span of 10 years, “but nobody knows how long it will really last because of the improvements in the fiber.”

As for the renovations to Strawberry Field, Herb Thatcher of Kingston had a specific concern.

He asked Campbell if the work included the “ball-eating gully full of blackberry bushes,” and if they could do something “to prevent children from having to go into the gullies to retrieve errant passes?”

Though Thatcher was disappointed to find out the gullies were not included in the project, he was hopeful the gullies would serve as a continuing motivation for the players to be more accurate in passing the ball.

Fred Arnold had a dual purpose for attending the meeting: he’s both a resident in a neighborhood that borders the high school and a soccer dad for his daughter, who plays select soccer. He asked what the hours of construction on the project would be and what hours the stadium’s new lights would be in use. The construction times will follow the same guidelines as those within the city of Poulsbo — generally 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The lights will follow the same usage rules as during football season, Campbell said. He added that the lights are a new generation of stadium lights built on higher poles and have shading mechanisms that direct the light to the stadium, rather than to surrounding houses.

The NKREC project is funded through a combined venture through NKSD, the Kitsap Public Facilities District (KPFD) and the city of Poulsbo. The project is eligible for state matching funds raised through the hotel/motel tax. By law, the KPFD can only contribute money to projects slated for maximum public use.

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