1. What is the Shunpike Field Renovation Project?
The Shunpike Field Renovation project is a complete redevelopment of the former recreation fields. A portion of the former natural turf fields will be replaced with a synthetic turf field similar to Lum Field in Chatham Borough. The remaining natural turf fields will be completely reconstructed. The natural turf fields will consist of two ballfields and one multipurpose field.
The complex will have a new look with defined walkways, improved backstops and fencing, larger dugouts, larger bleachers and spectator areas. The improvements also involve excessive stormwater management controls including a new network of stormwater collection pipes and inlets, water quality treatment devices, and provisions for groundwater recharge and detention. The majority of these improvements are underground and, as such, the extent of the work cannot be fully appreciated by simply walking the complex.
2. Is the construction project on schedule with initial expectations?
While the project is behind schedule, the turf field will be playable this spring as originally expected, weather permitting. The grass field will not be completed until several months later.
The project was initially scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. There was several factors which resulted in a delay in the project completion date. The initial scope of work did not include the installation of sport lights. Another factor was a delay in securing a source of clean fill. The scope of work for the project included importing a significant amount of clean fill (over 1,000 truckloads) to properly raise and grade the recreation fields. Overall construction throughout the state is down due to the economy which limited the availability of clean fill. In addition, several sources of fill were rejected by the Township because analytical testing showed the material to be unsuitable to be used as clean fill.
3. What is the current expected completion date for the project?
While the construction schedule is delayed, we expect the turf field to be playable in the Spring Season as originally envisioned. Lights will also be installed at this time. This is all, of course, “Weather permitting”. The natural grass fields will be completed following the completion of the artificial turf field.
4. Are these fields going to have sport lighting?
Yes, both the artificial turf and the natural grass fields with have sport lighting.
5. Why is there still a large mount of dirt on the field?
This mount of dirt is the top soil that was stripped from the site at the beginning of the project which will be re-used for the natural grass field.
6. Why is this project taking so long?
This is a large renovation project and involved dealing with virtually every environmental regulation in the State of New Jersey. This project should not be compared to artificial turf projects that were done in neighboring communities as this project is not simply installing artificial turf on top of the existing field. This project includes installation of a large multipurpose artificial turf field and the installation of new natural grass fields. In order to improve the quality and condition of the fields, this project includes the installation of a significant under-drainage system and raising the elevation of the fields by over 2 feet. This required more than 1000 dump trucks of dirt to be brought to the site. During the summer months soil samples provided by the contractor did not meet the required environmental or geotechnical specifications and the Township could not approve the soil for use at Shunpike. It was not until late summer/early fall when the contractor was finally able to locate a fill site which met the required specifications.