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The Oak Grove Ball Field Complex

By Kevin R. Mitchell, Assistant Director of Parks Grapevine Parks & Recreation Department




For maintenance, the 35 acres of fields are mowed 2-3 times per week depending on the growing season. The fields are on a fertilizer injector system that delivers nutrients in a liquid form directly to the roots of the plants. Photos courtesy of Kevin R. Mitchell, Assistant Director of Parks Grapevine Parks & Recreation Department

Rain bird
Teak Warehouse Came America

With the help of landscape contractor Bluegrass Maintenance Inc., Oak Grove Ball field Complex Renovation Project in Grapevine, Texas, replaced an out-dated facility with a new community park that blended the functionality of a high-quality sports facility with a landmark civic park.

The $12,000,000, 35-arce project involved the renovation and rehabilitation of nine ball fields for both baseball and softball. The Complex included the construction of a new restroom and concession building that included tournament office space, an umpire changing room, storage space, a separate maintenance building and compound, parking lots, playground, batting cages, and pedestrian food court plaza with a stage.







The structure shown was made of natural sandstone. American Interlock & Modular Construction, Inc. installed all the hardscape using Pavestone products.


Landscape

Bluegrass Maintenance, Inc. performed extensive native landscaping, including the preservation of nearly 200 existing trees.

A water-efficient irrigation system fed by a new irrigation pond was also constructed to provide water for irrigation to not only the new Ballfield Complex, but also to two other existing sports facilities. The water for the pond was pumped directly out of the nearby Lake Grapevine.

The design team worked closely with the City Council Facilities Committee, Corps of Engineers, nearby residents and city staff to determine the most efficient and least impactful location for all the components of the anticipated facilities. The site is located within Oak Grove Park, a large community park located on the shores of Lake Grapevine. The native Post Oaks and Live Oaks were critical in the overall site design. The design team wanted to honor both Grapevine's heritage and the important existing native elements in the proposed design. Native sandstone is used extensively throughout the site on various signs, columns, walls, planters, banding, and kiosks.







Prior to construction, the City Council approved $250,000 to hand-dig 40 existing large red oaks and machine-dig 150 existing smaller trees at the site. These trees were stored and cared for in a temporary tree farm just off-site, then one year later replanted when the construction was in its final stages.






Bluegrass Maintenance Inc., laid more that 750,000 square feet of Bermuda 419 sod; the landscape contractor installed the sod over an 8-week period using a 20-man crew.


Environmentally Sensitive

The Grapevine City Council in Grapevine wanted the Oak Grove Ballfield Complex to be as environmentally resourceful and contextually sensitive as possible. Staff worked with HNTB's designers to bring forth several proposals to preserve existing trees and take advantage of the unique lakeside setting, which Council approved. The master plan of the complex broke away from the traditional ''pinwheel'' layout found in most baseball facilities, and moved pairs of fields towards the perimeter of the site to open up the central space. This allowed the design to mitigate the impact to an existing Post Oak grove for which the park was named. It also allowed the design to work around three large, 30-foot Live Oaks in the center of the project site.

Recycling Existing Materials

Another resourceful element incorporated in this project was the recycling of the existing complex materials. Park Maintenance staff removed all of the existing chain link fencing, bleachers, lights, wire, shade structures, and other amenities that had become obsolete due to all the updates. The chain link fencing, bleachers, and shade structures were reinstalled at Meadowmere Soccer Complex and Oak Grove Soccer Complex.







More than 250 workers were on the site at any given time to install the extensive hardscapes.






Recycled concrete was used for the sub-base for the play equipment rather than the typical gravel base mix. The playground surface was covered with engineered wood fiber. The custom designed play structure sits upon a playground area depressed into the ground and surrounded by 250 tons of native sandstone boulders.


Creative Irrigation

In lieu of undergoing costly upgrades to the existing municipal water supply that would be needed to provide water for irrigation, the city constructed an irrigation pond designed to use raw water from nearby Lake Grapevine for irrigation. The water from the pond would not only provide water to the new Complex, but also to the two other existing sports complexes at the park, with provisions to provide water for future park development as well. Staff calculated that the cost to use raw water directly from Lake Grapevine was significantly less than using treated municipal water. Additionally, the water from the lake was healthier for the turf. A fertigation system added to this new irrigation system would help save park maintenance staff time and provide a more efficient disbursement of chemicals to the fields. The city staff had further estimated that the cost for the irrigation pond, pumping system, and fertigation system could be paid back in as little as 12 years from the savings on using raw water versus treated water.







The site features the latest ''green'' lighting system for the ball fields, called Musco Light-Structure Green. The system uses fewer fixtures than standard systems, and less electricity to power the lights. The lighting system reflects light to the ball fields with very little spill into the surrounding neighborhood. The bleacher cover is a Polygon product that came from InSIte Amenities.


Going Native

Native plants that require less water were used for landscaping the complex to reduce the overall watering needs. And lastly, recycled concrete was used for the sub-base for the cushion material utilized under the play equipment rather than the typical gravel base mix.

The center of the complex allowing fantastic views of the surrounding fields and the lake below. The building is divided into three sections; the restrooms, the concessions, and the tournament office / umpire changing room - all under one large roof structure. The building was also designed with several energy savings features: low-flow toilets, low-flow sinks, skylights in all rooms, on demand hot water, and automatic valves on the sinks and toilets. All rooms were equipped with occupancy sensors on the lights and fans to save electricity. Glass blocks allow natural light to enter all rooms and reduce the use of electricity. The gutter system on the roof captures rainwater, which is then returned to Lake Grapevine.

Once a visitor passes through the building they are met with ''Choosing Sides'' a 3-piece commissioned bronze statue, sculpted by a local artist Archie St. Clair.







Artist Archie St. Clair designed and built the statues, clad in 1-inch thick bronze. The statues contain 1-inch dia. stainless steel rods that secure the statues to a base-plate. Pavers were installed over the base-plates to hold them securely in place.


Hardscapes

One of the unique features to the park is the use of multiple types of paving; stone banding, colored concrete, brick pavers, and textured concrete.

All of the nine ball fields include covered terraced bleacher seating, picnic tables, ''open'' seating areas, net backstops, wireless scoreboards & scorers tables, dugouts, bullpens, warning tracks, soft-toss stations, and warm-up areas. Stone was used extensively throughout the site for the signs, columns, walls, planters, banding, and kiosks are all native sandstone.

Due to the location of the fields on such a unique setting overlooking the lake, the various design elements such as elevations, and amenities would be difficult to duplicate on any other park site.


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November 19, 2019, 10:16 pm PDT

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