Jim Goddard, Issam Khoury, Mark Heinlein
Papers # 2018 Las-Vegas
The Atlanta Braves Major League Baseball team built a new stadium north of Atlanta, Georgia. The field drainage design required the removal of 75mm (3 inches) of rainfall an hour and a system for warming or cooling the field using air blown through the drainage system and field profile using heat from pipe buried approximately 3 meters (9 feet) below the playing surface.
Atlanta Braves Sun Trust Field features an innovative design for the drainage, aeration, and geothermal temperature moderation of the rootzone. The design objectives were removal of rainfall at a high rate, uniform distribution of air through the field profile, and moderate cooling or warming of the root zone of the turf. The system design, small scale tests, and actual performance results for the first year of use are presented. The field profile is discussed and the low profile drainage system detailed. This project presents a model for natural turf athletic fields for baseball, football, and soccer venues in moderate climate areas.
The design and performance tests of the research plot are presented, and their influence on the final design outlined. These items include the design for a 12,100 square meter (130,000 square foot) field area of the drainage system and the ultimate field profile.
The project site conditions are outlined. These include the geologic conditions, ground temperature at 3 meters (10 feet) depth, and the typical climate for the location. The construction of the Sun Trust Park field is described, including the geothermal aeration pipe, the drainage system, and the field profile. Performance of the system relative to the rainfall and temperature history through the first season is presented.
Through the winter, the primary objective was to keep the turf from freezing. The design assumed a low ambient temperature of -7⁰C (20⁰F). Actual low temperature in January of 2018 reached -12⁰C (11⁰F). During that period the turf root zone temperature was no lower than 4⁰C (39⁰F), 75mm (3 inches) below the playing surface, with air blown into the field profile from a depth of 3 meters (10 feet). Applicability to other sports and climates is discussed. Some general recommendations are included.