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03-31-22 | Feature

Playground, Park, and Sports Fields Enhance Community

New Sports and Community Facility
by Corrie Lindsay, LPA

The 9.75-acre Reed and Grant Sports Park in Santa Clara, California was designed by landscape architecture firm LPA. The park features five lighted sports fields, - four synthetic turf fields and one natural grass field - a multipurpose building, concession stand, restrooms, on-site parking and a playground.
The promenade is a central spine that offers access from the community building to the playground. The Promenade has flanking access walks that have the dual purpose of circulation and breakout spectating areas for big games. The Promenade has an allay of shade trees that are mimicked by LED light columns.
The landscape design involved the addition of 11 tree species including the Chinese Pistache seen here. 18 different types of shrubs were incorporated along with California Fuchsia featuring red flowers. Other plantings include Feathered Reed Grass seen at the bottom of the image.
LPA worked with the city to review several playground manufacturers to evaluate style, theme, safety, inclusive play, durability, warranty and overall fun. The city was very excited with the new Landscape Structures product line because it offered both a 2-5-year-old and a 5-12-year-old unit with a multitude of customizations, and one unifying style. The Evos (top right image) and Weevos (bottom right image) structure's offered net play which was a community desire revealed by one of the workshops. The product line offered endless customization capabilities and allowed the team to maximize inclusive play which was important to the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
LPA worked with the city to review several playground manufacturers to evaluate style, theme, safety, inclusive play, durability, warranty and overall fun. The city was very excited with the new Landscape Structures product line because it offered both a 2-5-year-old and a 5-12-year-old unit with a multitude of customizations, and one unifying style. The Evos (top right image) and Weevos (bottom right image) structure's offered net play which was a community desire revealed by one of the workshops. The product line offered endless customization capabilities and allowed the team to maximize inclusive play which was important to the city's Parks and Recreation Department.
A multitude of playground surfaces were evaluated for fall zone safety. In a park full of synthetic turf, it may have been reasonable to have continued that material under the structure, but for durability and maintenance, a poured in place rubber was the right solution. Additionally, the selected poured in place system was also permeable to meet local storm drainage requirements. The color scheme was incubated during a design meeting to use the colors from the City of Santa Clara's official seal. The city was so excited about the playground and expected it to be an iconic destination for the regional community.

Reed and Grant Sports Park turned a 9.75-acre brownfield site in an industrial zone into a new sports and community facility for an under-served community. LPA's, a landscape architecture firm based in Sacramento, California, design fits five sports fields and an all-purpose recreation building on to the site, utilizing every inch of available land. From the outset, the community was involved in the design process, helping to create an environmentally and fiscally sustainable facility that reflects the city's needs and creates a new icon and gathering point for the community.
A study by the City of Santa Clara found the City needed 30 acres of additional active recreation space and sports fields to meet the community's needs, especially for youth soccer. But there was little land available in the built-out City, which is part of Silicon Valley. The City hired the design firm early in the process to engage the community and explore potential sites.

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After analyzing four sites through community workshops, test fits, and surveys, the design team settled on an oddly shaped 9.75-acre brownfield site in an industrial zone. The site was near new multi-family residential project and offered easy access from surrounding neighborhoods that had been deficient in parkland for decades. But the site provided a myriad of significant challenges. The city didn't own the land and there was substantial soil contamination from a previous industrial use. In addition, the property line and easement survey showed a 24" sewer main running through the site, a railroad easement along the entire southern border, soil constraints and an SVP overhead power easement.
The design of the Reed and Grant Sports Park was inspired by LPA's mission of "Parks Make Life Better" by providing the City of Santa Clara with a 9.75-acre sports park where youth soccer programs can flourish, community members can engage in recreational activities, and children of all ages and abilities can enjoy a playscape designed as an all-inclusive setting. As a result of the workshops and community outreach, the project identified specific needs and clear stakeholder priorities, which allowed the city to focus funds on improving parks in neighborhoods. The project also addressed a Council Pillar "to enhance community sports, recreation and arts assets."
The sports park celebrates the coming together of the community and offers spaces that promote physical, emotional and mental health and wellness. The design accommodates a wide variety of activities, purposely engaging diverse neighborhood segments. The facility allows the type of community programming that did not exist, creating healthy living and wellness opportunities for a neighborhood with few traditional options. At the same, the park's multipurpose buildings and brightly lit state-of-the-art fields have created a new icon and destination for the community.
The design fits five sports fields and an all-purpose recreation building on to the site, utilizing every inch of available land to maximize the value for the community. The five fields are sized for perpendicular play, accommodating a variety of sports and age ranges. In all, the field can be reconfigured to accommodate youth tournaments for up to 10 fields.
Throughout the site, the design finds way to maximize available resources. The on-site building went beyond the original scope to become a community center for multiple functions. A roll-up door opens the building to the fields and passive park elements. A linear park with seating nodes runs through the center of the fields. The entire park utilizes safety netting in strategic locations to help maintain the speed of play, limit interferences and fully define non-active recreation areas.
The new facility is a model of sustainability for the community. The entire site features low-water use and native plant material. Recycled water is used for the irrigation system and restrooms, helping to reduce the building's water consumption by 85%. The building's orientation and hipped roof allows for natural daylighting. The roof drainage feeds into an energy dissipation basin that is piped to a bio-filtration basin. The roof allows for a large array of photo voltaic panels capable of harvesting enough power to run the building, exterior sports lights and maintenance support building. Parking stalls are equipped with vehicle charging stations to fulfill the city's leadership on providing clean renewable energy.
Synthetic fields were chosen to help lower maintenance costs and add the durability necessary to handle youth soccer. A lighter-colored encapsulated product was selected for turf infill material to keep the field up to 30 degrees cooler than traditional synthetic fields. A low water-use warm season creeping sod will reduce water consumption and increase durability. For special matches and other sports activities such as volleyball, the design also includes one all-natural turf field.
All the synthetic fields feature a state-of-the-art shock pad that will reduce the risk of field-caused injuries and more easily allow the city to maintain proper Head Injury Criteria (HIC). The drainage that travels through the fields is piped to onsite bio-filtration basins. An innovative vertical system in the biofiltration areas achieves storm water goals.
The final design transformed a polluted brownfield site into a community landmark with an enormous amount of program space that will directly benefit under-served communities that had been largely overlooked in the city's growth.

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