State-of-the-art pitch at KC Current Stadium



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KC Current stadium update July 2023 Image: KC Current

Stepping closer to matchday at the KC Current Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri (US) in the Spring, the construction team is at the beginning stages of another major milestone for the project – pitch installation.

‘KANSAS CITY CURRENT’ stated that the frame of the stadium’s grandstand and structure are done, the pitch area will soon resemble what fans can see on matchdays. Installing state-of-the art grass field involves many layers, and while the process is brief, the JE Dunn Project Engineer Dan Staudenmaier says it is a notable part of the project for the construction and design teams as well as those who will get to watch the field become fully operational.

The 11,500-capacity Kansas City Current Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium being built in Kansas City, Missouri (US) for the Kansas City Current of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), who currently plays their home games at the Children’s Mercy Park. The stadium is scheduled to be completed and opened by March 2024.

The Kansas City Current is an American professional women’s soccer team playing in Kansas City, Kansas, US. It was founded as an expansion team in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2021.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a professional women’s soccer league at the top of the United States league system. Headquartered in New York City, it is owned by the teams and, until 2020, was under a management contract with the United States Soccer Federation (the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States).

The 18,467-capacity Children’s Mercy Park is a soccer-specific stadium in Kansas City, Kansas, United States, and is the team home for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) club Kansas City Current. The stadium is located near Kansas Speedway, on the far West side of Wyandotte County, Kansas, US.

Said Staudenmaier, “The KC Current grounds team will have a wealth of resources to ensure the pitch will be in peak condition for matches no matter the time of the year. Below the pitch, we will be installing heating coils and a SubAir aeration system to increase air flow through the root zone to optimize growing conditions. The team also plans to utilize blankets and grow lights to provide warmer conditions above the pitch to maintain growth in colder conditions.”

The SubAir is the world’s leading subsurface aeration and moisture management solution, designed to moderate and control environmental subsoil conditions. A SubAir system comprises a series of pumps and blowers that connect to the underground drainage systems.

‘KANSAS CITY CURRENT’ further stated that for the pitch to withstand rainy, hot or cold days, the SubAir aeration system is an integral part of the process. This system allows nutrients to reach the soil and produces a stronger grass field for the daily wear-and-tear of the fast-paced sport.

The process is short, but it is integral to getting the world-class pitch ready for players and coaches. In mid-July, construction began on the pitch, and a 10-member crew will be working on it from start-to-finish. Its anticipated completion is near to August end.

Building the pitch involves a blend of technology, biology and chemistry, which Jackson Kramer, the KC Current Head Groundskeeper, says is an exciting combination, especially as they create it with the female athletes in mind.

Stated Kramer, “I love the level of investment that our ownership has put into having a world-class stadium and by extension a world-class pitch specifically built for women’s soccer. It gives the grounds department a unique opportunity to investigate how a pitch should act and feel with women playing on the surface as opposed to nearly every other pitch in the world, which is focused on male player-to-surface interactions.”

For drainage, the foundation level of the field includes three elements: Pea gravel (pea-sized pebbles), filter fabric and irrigation piping. In early August, the crew will begin setting up heating coils and the SubAir aeration system, which optimizes growing conditions for the grass to maintain its healthy green year-round.

Then, organic materials are placed for the roots to grow. At the end of the process, it is time for the sod, or grass surface. The pitch only takes a few days to transform into a recognizable field, as the sod will take less than a week to be laid down.

Beyond construction and maintenance by JE Dunn and Monarch Build, the many moving parts of the pitch installation are also handled by experts such as Kramer, Vance Rzpeka, VSR’s (a landscape architecture and design firm dedicated to providing professional services for sports and recreation facilities) leader of pitch design, and Frank Masterson’s management of the pitch installation with Midwest Laser Leveling.

Topeka, Kansas (US)-based Midwest Laser Leveling is dedicated to providing safe, affordable and quality athletic fields, while also providing outstanding customer service. It specializes in construction, renovation and maintenance of baseball, softball, soccer, and football fields.

Added Staudenmaier, “It will be next Spring before we celebrate true completion of this process. Over the course of the Winter months the team plans to utilize the SubAir aeration system, blankets and grow lights to maintain healthy growth of the pitch for it to be ready for matchday in March before everyone else’s lawns turn green.”

The next major milestones on the project include seat placement, scoreboard installation and the stadium opening. The KC Current Stadium will be open to the public in the Spring of 2024.

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