The College of Marin unveiled the latest Measure B bond money-funded project this week approved by voters, making Kentfield’s new synthetic turf football/lacrosse pitch and tennis courts open to the public.
“It’s exciting,” said COM sporting director Ryan Byrne. “I feel like we really feel like we’re making progress and not only having a greater impact on students, but also on our community.”
The tennis field and courts are part of a larger, ongoing project to upgrade many of the College of Marin’s athletic facilities. Previous projects have included replacing the gymnasium floor, installing beach volleyball courts and converting the weight room into a full fitness facility.
In total, Measure B provided COM with over $265 million. Of this amount, $147 million was allocated to repair or upgrade academic and athletic facilities at the Kentfield campus. Nearly $9.5 million of that total was allocated to synthetic turf sports fields and restroom/storage facilities.
Byrne said the facilities would be open to the public “from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.”
“On major holidays we would be closed, but other than that it is open to the public,” he said, noting that facilities can be booked for special events.
COM opted for a silica sand/cork based infill for their artificial turf, eschewing the granulated black rubber infill which has been criticized by some due to potential health concerns. There are growing concerns that rubber crumbs could cause dangerous exposure to chemicals.
“With the FieldTurf product we chose, the infill is silica sand and cork, so the sand is at the base,” Byrne said. “The drainage system is phenomenal. Much of what went into engineering isn’t something you see, but the drainage is such that you could take a massive rainstorm and be playing literally 10-15 minutes after.
“Sand and cork can help with that, but they’re also going to really help with not giving off so much heat. Then black granulated rubber has so many health issues. Not much is known about the long-term effects. term of that on health, so we just want to get away from it to be on the safe side.
College of Marin will play its home football games on the new ground, moving away from the old natural grass pitch. Mike Crivello, COM men’s football coach, sees this as a big advantage.
“Just having that to train and play, especially with the style that I like to play – more on the ground than an aerial attack – (is going to help),” Crivello said. “It certainly goes a long way to maintain and work on a style of play when you have a field that is going to be consistent and play the same way every time.”
The Branson School’s varsity and JV teams will also pay to use many of COM’s new facilities for their home games in various sports next year.
“We’ve had a great partnership with College of Marin for 15 years,” said Branson school principal Chris Mazzola. “We’re beyond thrilled with what they’re putting together. … The tennis courts are beautiful and the baseball diamond and everything that goes with it is going to be exceptional.”
Branson is expected to play soccer, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, track and field, basketball, swimming and diving, as well as volleyball playoff games at COM next season, according to Mazzola.
“I think it’s the finest facility in the county now,” Mazzola said. “It will be very exciting for our athletes to play there.”
In addition to the new pitch, there are new bleachers and areas for the long jump, high jump and triple jump. The actual track around the pitch was in good enough condition not to need replacing, but Byrne said they hope to reline it in the future.
With the synthetic turf pitch complete, the COM’s sports department will turn its attention to its next major project, the new baseball stadium.
The demolition of the old baseball field and facilities has already taken place; The COM baseball team spent its entire season on the road this spring. Byrne expects the project to be completed by mid-January 2019, allowing the Mariners to begin their baseball season in late January at home.
“We have already asked the board to check the plans and so we have a number of contractors bidding for the work,” Byrne said. “This tender will be closed within the next month, then we can issue a notice of intent and start working on the project.
“We plan to start shoveling the ground on this in July. We would expect a checklist with a visit with the contractor to be in early January. »