REC SPORTS FIELDS DURING THE PANDEMIC

The Penberthy Rec. Sports Complex is a 50 acre facility consisting of 4 artificial turf fields, 9 grass fields, 200 person capacity covered pavilion and 75 person capacity meeting room. The Dept. of Recreational Sports oversees the scheduling of drop in recreation, intramural sports, club sports and special events. During a typical year we are open to users approximately 320 days of the year and host to 120 days of Sport Club practices, 120 days of Intramural play comprised of nearly 3000 games, 30 Sport Club games, 7 multi day Sport Club Tournaments and multiple special events. But this year all that has changed. With the spread of Covid 19 in Texas and the shutting down of campus, the complex was closed on March 18. For the first couple weeks, the Sports Team held the fields in a “ready to play” state, as we awaited decisions of how long we would be closed and if activities would resume. As more information became available and longer term decisions were made, we decided to start our summer restoration programs nearly 2 months ahead of schedule.

The teams program consists of several steps in aiding the field’s transition from winter to spring, alleviate soil compaction and repair damaged turf from the previous season’s events. Starting on April 1, all grass fields were treated chemically to remove all planted rye grass and other grassy weeds that appeared in the spring. During this transition time, all goals and bleachers were removed and stored at non playing surface locations. Once the rye had died, all grass fields were verti-cut and swept to remove all dead material from the fields surface. This was followed up with multiple aerifications and a top dressing of .25” of white sand. Fields were then fertilized and irrigated to promote maximum recovery. We also took the time to plant sod at any thinned are bare areas, completing all 9 grass fields on June 10th.

We have spent the remaining part of summer repairing/fine tuning our irrigation systems, monthly low rate fertilize applications and increased mowing frequencies to provide our customers with high quality and safe athletic fields. We have been very fortunate to have not suffered major labor and budget cuts like many school districts and parks/recreational entities I have heard about through associations related to our industry. Currently the Penberthy Complex is ready and awaiting for the start of fall sports once the decision is made. submitted by Brian Carey

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