by Emily Wrigglesworth, grade 12, Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School
Standing out in the middle of a field, on a cold, windy and rainy day may not be Kevin Cuthbertson’s idea of fun. However, it is part of his job.
“This is one of many jobs,” Cuthbertson, who is the Assistant Foreman at Queen’s University, says. “We don’t have enough staff, so sometimes I end up doing it.”
The “it” he is referring to is sweeping garbage off of Queen’s Tindall Field. Tindall is the University’s only artificial turf field. Cuthbertson is excited that this is about to change. With the first phase of the West Campus and Stadium Project underway, the field has been dug up, and new artificial grass is being laid, with an extra layer of protection between the pitch and the underground parking garage being added.
Cuthbertson is so enthused because the flat surface makes his job faster, which is a positive considering the weather.
As the field is not real grass, there is no sod to be dug up by cleats and shoes, meaning that little bumps and divots are eliminated, and waste will not be caught in them. “It makes my job easier,” he says about the field he is standing on. The lack of sod also makes this field ideal for the current rainstorms plaguing the City of Kingston.
“It drains well. We can still play on it, even with all the rain,” Cuthbertson says energetically.
As if testament to his words, the field was about to used by two local high school soccer teams to play their semi final game. One young players mother said that the field they were supposed to be playing on was currently under water, and therefore, they were redirected to Tindall. They won’t be the only ones using the field in the future. With the field not being a slave to the elements, Leslie Dan Cin, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Queen’s, is optimistic for increased field use.
“We will see an increase in the available amount of programmable field time grow from an estimated 900 hours per year to over 6,300 as a result of the transition to artificial turf,” says Dan Cin in a press release. “These new fields will provide Athletics and Recreation with much needed additional capacity across all of out varsity and recreational programming, as well as providing an additional resource that is available for community use during out ‘off season.'”
By the end of this project, all three of Queen’s fields will be turf. West Campus field is projected to be finished by September 2011, in time for the new school season. The following year, Kingston Field will be completed, by September 2012.