A new artificial turf field and redesigned track are scheduled to be completed at Francis C. Hammond Middle School by November, a school official said.
The new features were originally planned to be completed by September but were delayed due to an unforeseen redesign of the project’s stormwater management system, said Monika Szczepaniec with the Alexandria City Public Schools’ planning, design and construction office.
Construction on the new field and track began this spring, Szczepaniec said. There are multiple benefits to the new design, she said, including that artificial turf will allow for longer playing times and easier maintenance.
“Maintenance-wise, you don’t have to have irrigation and as an extensive maintenance on an artificial turf field as you do a natural one,” she said. “So, definitely with the track, if you look at the old site plan, it was irregularly shaped and quite a bumpy little track, and now it will be striped with lanes, so it’s going to be a definite improvement.”
The project is costing about $1.9 million and includes an extensive stormwater management system for the new field and the parking lot behind the school.
Previously, the field was made of natural grass. The new artificial turf field will measure 360 by 185 feet, which is consistent with field dimensions established by the National Federation of State High School Associations and US Lacrosse. The field will be striped for soccer and lacrosse.
The old running track at Francis Hammond has an irregular shape and was shorter than the new asphalt running track, which will be a quarter of a mile long. Exercise equipment that was already located at the field will stay, but the mulch underneath will be replaced by a rubberized surface.
There will be a fence around the field, but not the track. The use of the field will be regulated by the outside of school hours. The track will remain open for public to use at all times, except for during school hours. The field will not include lighting, Szczepaniec said.
The project is being funded through the city as part of ACPS' Capital Improvement Program. The school is located at 4646 Seminary Rd.