Fort Worth Country Day breaks ground on $3.5 million upgrade of athletic fields

The upgrade

Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD), the oldest co-ed college-preparatory school in Fort Worth, has broken ground on a $3.5 million upgrade of its athletic fields, a project described as the most significant athletics improvement project in the school’s 59-year history.

The upgrade, slated for completion in the fall of 2022, includes excavating one of the school’s two field hockey fields, Rosacker Stadium field and Barrett Havran Track, and superseding them with international-caliber surfaces and technologies rivaled by no other high school in North Texas, the school said in a news release.

“Our track and turf fields improvement project is truly game-changing for FWCD athletics,” said Eric Lombardi, head of school. “No more rainouts because of saturated fields, no more worries about wear-and-tear during practices or competition. We’ll have the ability to host international-caliber athletic events, all while showcasing our 104-acre campus.

“My top priority, however, is to ensure that FWCD student-athletes are able to pursue their athletic interests on safe fields and surfaces that offer the highest level of standards for competitive sports. Calling this project ‘transformative’ would be an understatement.”

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Funded entirely by 21 FWCD donors, the upgrades will impact all FWCD student-athletes, especially those who compete in field hockey, football, lacrosse, track and field, and soccer. Fort Worth-based Paragon Sports Constructors, considered the leader in Texas sports construction, is serving as FWCD’s design/build project partner.

One of FWCD’s two grass-surfaced field hockey fields will transition into a “wet” hockey field, a surface the school said is considered the gold standard in competitive field hockey and comparable to fields played on during World Cup Field Hockey matches. The water-based turf surface, manufactured by Sporturf, uses a water cannon irrigation system allowing FWCD to “weather the field” before games and practices. The field will be completely flat with no crown, enabling field hockey players to maximize speed and performance. FWCD will be the first school in DFW and the third in the state of Texas to implement this field surface technology, providing a valuable site for the sport of field hockey in North Texas, the release said.

FWCD’s existing grass-surfaced field at Rosacker Stadium will transition into a PowerBlade fiber-based turf surface field, manufactured by Shaw Sports Turf. Constructed out of advanced monofilament fibers, it will combine the softness and lush appearance of natural grass with the engineered performance of modern synthetic turf, preparing FWCD’s football and soccer athletes to compete on turf fields, which are becoming the standard in top-performing collegiate football and soccer programs. Underneath the PowerBlade synthetic turf system will be a pad to reduce shock absorption, as well as a partial coconut-based Geofill infill system that cools the field’s temperature and makes it resistant to mold, mildew, and salts.

Country Day’s Barrett Havran Track will feature the most durable of paved-in-place systems, the PTS 4000 sandwich system manufactured by Paragon Track Surfaces. The system has a paved-in-place base mat sealed with two-component polyurethane, resulting in a 100% impermeable surface. The surface provides a spike-resistant stable system that maximizes performance for multiple purposes including high-level track meets, PE, and off-season workouts. The new track will also incorporate a steeplechase pit, two in-field shot put sectors, and colored exchange zones for relays.

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Once complete, the school said, FWCD’s Havran Track will ultimately serve as a venue for international-caliber track-and-field competitions and will be rivaled by no other high school in North Texas.