The vast preparatory work before athletic competitions ensures that the grounds at Dixie State University are always ready when game time rolls around.
While a well-prepped field may come to be expected by a spectator of a game, there is plenty of work that needs to be done on a regular basis by the facility maintenance. The landscaping and custodial staff here at DSU keep the sporting complexes in tip-top shape for athletes to perform at their best.
There are several different methods to taking care of each of the individual fields. Since Legend Solar Stadium’s multipurpose playing surface is artificial turf, it needs to be tended in a different way than that of the baseball and softball fields with their natural grass and dirt.
Legend Solar Stadium
After every event, the field develops small, uneven areas as a result of some parts of the field being used more than others and dispersing the small granules on top of the turf away from that area. Facilities Services Director Jack Freeman said the facility maintenance and landscaping staff use an ATV, with a large “broom” attached to the back to smooth out the uneven patches that may have developed before the next event. They then attach a magnet onto the ATV and go over the field, picking up any screws or debris that may be on it.
Bruce Hurst and Karl Brooks Fields
For grounds keeper Dean Winningham working on the fields is a daily task.
“It’s about 40 hours a week; it’s a daily job,” Winningham said. “From February to November especially, it is a full-time commitment.”
Winningham also said the baseball and softball fields each have two applications, one for summer and another for winter
for winter, where a different grass is planted for each season. The fields are also given fertilizer every six weeks throughout the entire year.
“In the winter time we will convert to a rye [grass] because that is acceptable to the weather conditions,” Freeman said. “The grass is converted to a Bermuda [grass] in the summer since Bermuda grass does better in the heat.”
As for the painting of the lines and field maintenance, such as dragging and raking the field before a baseball or softball game, that is controlled by the coaches and players.
The custodial department takes care of the facilities in the Burns Arena as well as the Student Activity Center. Custodial Manager Jenna Brown said the duties for the staff during a game day include using an auto scrubber on the court before and after the game, picking up trash, mopping, vacuuming the stands and concourse, as well as cleaning the locker rooms and bathrooms.
“We try to clean up the building after games so they are ready for the next one,” Brown said. “A lot of the time we are here until almost 2 o’clock in the morning cleaning up after a game.”
Whether it is after practice or game time, the facility maintenance, landscaping and custodial staff will start their work to make sure the facilities are ready for the next event.