News

Celebrating the Grand Opening! / Fallon Sports Complex Phase 2

The City of Dublin celebrated the Grand Opening of Fallon Sports Complex Phase 2 on March 24 during on and off rain showers. The $14 million development, which began in 2013, includes: a 90’ lighted natural turf baseball diamond, two lighted synthetic turf soccer fields, a shaded group picnic and BBQ area, four lighted bocce ball courts, an adventure playground, and custom furnishings throughout. Children immediately gravitated to the playground this first day.

Although the baseball game was rained out, the rain of course contributes positively to the new phase in other ways. Vegetation will grow to provide aesthetic, ecological, and hydrological features to the sports complex. Bio-basins are planted with over a dozen species of native plants, and include educational signage about the role of a bio-basin in the water cycle, and the pollinators and bloom periods associated with specific native plants.

In just a few months since plant installation, some ornamental grasses, especially Muhlenbergia rigens (Deergrass) and Deschampsia cespitosa (Tufted Hairgrass), already provide significant volume to the new park features. These spaces will continue to fill in adjacent to the picnic and play areas, and at the base of the artist Heath Satow’s “Elatus,” the park’s iconic 32’ tall stainless steel statue.

Carducci Associates has designed a sports complex that includes the thoughtfully-constructed wildness of a true park. On a recent walk through Fallon’s Phase 1, where our office’s planting design has had 10 years to grow in, this unique pairing of landscapes has matured. Baccharis pilularis, Salix lasiolepis, Platanus racemosa and Salvia ‘Pozo Blue’ shade and frame the enduring brightness of synthetic turf, the sharp geometry of adjacent basketball courts, and running paths. The playful contrast between maintenance and wildness, synthetic and natural, continues in Phase 2. Concentric mow pattern rings a baseball pitcher’s mound that echoes Dublin’s hills visible in the distance.

Instances of this balance will increase as the park ages. The third and final phase will complete the picture our office has been involved with since the development of master plan beginning in 2004. The final phase of the 60 acre park will introduce two additional Little League baseball fields, two additional softball fields, additional group picnic and play areas, and the completion of the BMX facility. Fallon Sports Complex provides an intriguing case study for the ability of a traditionally highly maintained and synthetic sports complex to provide an ecological and hydrological partner to broader development patterns taking shape throughout the City of Dublin.

Finishing touches on the placement of home plate
Phase 2 soccer fields
Pitcher's Mound and the Dublin Hills
Sunlight catches the warm fray of Deschampsia cespitosa in the forground, and the sharper, taller Muhlenbergia rigens in the background.
Grand Opening visitors learn about pollinators and their habitat, such as the bio-basin constructed in the background.
The biobasins invite a broad family of pollinators to the sports complex.
New adventure playground!
California Buckeye, 10 years after its planting, in Phase 1
Native sages, coyote brush, redbud, and buckeye begin another year of spring growth in Phase 1
The BMX course will be completed in Phase 3.

Site Visit / Event

Site Construction at Gilman Field / Notes and Images

After months or years of digital abstraction, witnessing a material’s properties in person is a wonderful learning opportunity built into the design and construction process.

The Tom Bates Regional Sports Complex in Berkeley, California – locally known as Gilman Fields – is undergoing a much-needed renovation of its two multi-use synthetic turf fields. Few materials laid out over acres creates a simple demonstration of a material’s interaction with local conditions.

Building this knowledge can contribute to a better landscape practice and landscape performance.

For example, synthetic turf carpet shrinks and expands in response to temperature. In the early morning of a worker’s day, the synthetic turf carpet is rolled out across the field. As the sun passes overhead, the carpet heats and expands. This produces subtle ripples across the field. Night temperatures dip into the 30’s and the carpet tightens again.

Thoughtful timing saves resources. Expansion and tightening would continue if it weren’t for sand infill working as a ballast and nails. In the early morning, sand infill is added on top of the carpet at its tightest. The carpet is nailed at its most expanded in afternoon heat.

Below are images from the past two months of construction.

The field's old synthetic turf rolled up for recycling.
A percolation test studies the quality of site drainage.
Installation of striping material.
Striping almost complete.
In contrast, a worn goal post shows years of play.
Natural grass and synthetic turf neighbors.

Site Visit

San Rafael High School Stadium / Carducci Associates Gives New Life to Marin's 80-Year-Old-Field

What began in 2008 with an anonymous donation has come to full realization in 2017: the renovation of Marin’s oldest playing field. Miller Field was constructed during the 1930s and has been improved over decades; today, it is the county’s only playing field with sports lighting. Yet the site endured persistent challenges due to resource-intensive natural turf maintenance, a lack of universal accessibility, and neighborhood sound and light pollution.

Carducci Associates led the renovation of Miller Field to resolve these issues by introducing cutting-edge athletic facility design that also serves the community as grounds for physical education, graduation, fairs, training, and performances. Additions and upgrades include: a new all-weather, 9-lane track for 3-way track meets, a synthetic turf field (comprised of a natural cork infill and a pad for player safety and drainage), a new home team grandstand, scoreboard, and visitor’s bleachers, an energy efficient, state-of-the-art LED stadium lighting and sound system, and new restrooms, concession stand, parking, and stadium entry plaza. The San Rafael City Schools Bond Program shares photos and information about the projects current status.

Many stakeholders have been involved in the eight-year process. More than two-thirds of voters approved Measure B, a $161 million bond to be spent on San Rafael City Schools. The first Measure B project is the renovation of the San Rafael High School Stadium. Parent volunteers, neighbors, athletic team boosters, teachers, district staff, coaches, and the Principal and the Athletic Director, have all contributed time, insight and fundraising to the project’s success. In our office, the project is known for its league of contributors: Principals Bill Fee and Vince Lattanzio, Senior Associates Alvin Tang and Tim Skinner, and associates Lee Streitz, Philip Dinh, Karly Behncke, Jihwan Kim and Joel Franceschi.

Synthetic turf offers a safe and level playing field, extension of the seasonal use of the field, savings in water use and maintenance costs, and elimination of noise and air pollution associated with mechanical mowers. Removing the need for chemical fertilizer and pesticide application, the high school’s neighboring San Rafael Creek and the greater San Francisco Bay will benefit from a reduction in water pollution. In collaboration with Van Pelt Construction Services and Robert A. Bothman managing the construction process, the stadium is scheduled to open in Spring 2018—ready for the community and fans of the San Rafael Bulldogs to gather for traditional Friday Night Lights football games.

Groundbreaking at Miller Field in May 2017.
Six months into construction at Miller Field, November 2017.

Press Release / Site Visit / Event

San Francisco’s First Bay-Friendly Rated Park, Designed by Carducci Associates / A Visit to the McLaren Rain Garden

Bay-Friendly Landscaping practices and design have been a consistent feature in Alameda County cities, and the movement championed by ReScape California is expanding state-wide. San Francisco Rec and Park adopted Bay-Friendly practices in 2014, and Carducci Associates is proud to announce that we were selected as Bay-Friendly designers for the team producing the first Bay-Friendly Rated SF Parks project!

McLaren Rain Garden is a series of terraces at the eastern edge of this large City park. The rain garden intercepts street and landscape water that formerly flooded city streets. Planting is 100% native, pollinator-friendly, and uses grey water harvested from within the park for irrigation. Abundant native flowering plants support the City’s new directive as a pollinator city.

Associate Principal Wesley Bexton designed the rain garden following the Bay-Friendly documentation process. Having participated in the requisite training, Carducci Associates has two additional Bay-Friendly Qualified Professionals (BFQPs), Senior Associate Alvin Tang and Associate George Chacon (bios here), with specific training in the unique regional aspects of landscape design, construction and maintenance in the Bay Area.

Panoramic Shot of McLaren Rain Garden, McLaren Park, San Francisco
Lighter and brighter plants used in the foreground contrast against the background's dark-leafed and evergreen trees.
Foreground: Diplacus aurantiacus (Sticky Monkey Flower). Background: Juncus patens (California Grey Rush) and Epilobium canum (California Fuchsia; the plant formerly known as Zauschneria californica).
Foreground: Salvia sonomensis (Creeping Sage). Background: Juncus patens (California Grey Rush) and Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass).
Achillea spp. (Yarrow) and Salvia spathacea (Hummingbird Sage).

Press Release / Site Visit