Fort Worth Country Day completes $3.5 million overhaul of sports fields

Photo courtesy Fort Worth Country Day

Just in time for spring sports, Fort Worth Country Day has completed construction on a $3.5 million overhaul of its track and turf fields that FWCD officials call one of the most significant athletics improvement projects in the college prep school’s 59-year history.

The project involved excavating the field hockey field, the multi-sport field (Howard Family Field) at Rosacker Stadium and its track (Barrett Havran Track), and superseding them with international-caliber surfaces and technologies, which FWCD officials say are rivaled by no other school in North Texas.

“Our track and turf fields improvement project is truly game-changing for FWCD athletics,” said Head of School Eric Lombardi. “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,” Lombardi added. “Calling this project ‘transformative’ would be an understatement.”

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The project, funded entirely by FWCD donors, impacts all student-athletes, said Athletic Director Leigh Block.

“We’ll be able to use these facilities for summer camp programs, lower school enrichment programs, and PE students,” Block said. “It provides a safe place for these kids to practice and play, and it ensures that we’ll never have to cancel a practice or game because of poor field conditions.”

FWCD’s football team has won multiple Southwest Preparatory Conference championships recently, and its field hockey, lacrosse, and soccer programs are consistently competitive.

The upgrade will benefit not only Country Day student-athletes, Lombardi noted, but also those from elsewhere. “Athletes from all over Texas will come here to compete and benefit from our good fortune, and I am so proud that after 59 years, Fort Worth Country Day now has the ability to host international-caliber athletic events and competitions,” he said.

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FWCD will host a men’s college lacrosse game on the new field in February and in May the school will host Texas High School Lacrosse Super Regionals.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to help all kinds of organizations host first-class events, and we’re excited about bringing people to our amazing campus,” Block said.

The work was performed by Fort Worth-based Paragon Sports Constructors.

“FWCD always strives to partner with and support fellow Fort Worth businesses. which in turn helps the local economy and contributes to job creation,” Block said.

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A recent ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony celebrating the project’s completion was attended by many of the school’s 21 donor families, project team members, community and city leaders, FWCD’s board of trustees, and Upper School athletes, students, faculty and staff.

Among the improvements encompassed by the project:

  • The field hockey field has transitioned into a “wet” hockey field (considered the gold standard in the sport 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 is now completely flat with no crown, enabling players to maximize speed and performance. FWCD is the first school in DFW and the third in the state of Texas to implement this field surface technology.
  • The field at Rosacker Stadium – now named the Howard Family Field – has transitioned into a PowerBlade fiber-based turf surface field, manufactured by Shaw Sports Turf. Constructed out of advanced monofilament fibers, it combines the softness and lush appearance of natural grass with the engineered performance of modern synthetic turf. Underneath the PowerBlade synthetic turf system is 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.
  • Barrett Havran Track now features 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 system’s top layer consists of EPDM rubber granules broadcast into a hand-poured polyurethane layer, providing a spike-resistant stable system that maximizes performance for multiple purposes including high-level track meets, PE, and off-season workouts, while withstanding consistent year-round use. The track also incorporates a steeplechase pit, two in-field shot put sectors, and colored exchange zones for relays.