Sports & Activity Fields Redevelopment
This is a notice for the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) Report for the University of Wisconsin – Superior proposed sports & activity fields redevelopment project published in the Wisconsin State Journal and Superior Telegram on November 18, 2022.
The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration Division of Facilities Development has retained Ayres Associates to prepare this DEIA. The document was prepared in accordance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), Wisconsin Statutes 1.11, and UWSA guidelines (Board of Regents’ Resolution 2508, November 6, 1981).
A public meeting to present the DEIA for the proposed project will begin on Friday, December 2, 2022, at 5:30 PM. The meeting will be held virtually and can be attended online at https://meet.goto.com/123155349 or via phone by dialing +1 (224) 501-3412 followed by access code 123-155-349. A description of the project and potential environmental impacts will be presented. All persons will be afforded a reasonable opportunity to identify both orally and in writing any support, issues, or concerns they believe should be further addressed during the EIA process for this proposed project.
An athletic and recreation fields feasibility study was completed in 2019, and its recommendations serve as the basis for the proposed scope of work and budget estimate. This project will further develop these initial concepts and determine a location for the replacement parking lot.
The soccer field is located on the south end of campus and is no longer utilized for academic courses or co-curricular programs. Built on construction spoils instead of engineered fill with drain tile, rocks and construction debris emerge every spring, leaving the field surface littered with debris that has caused injuries to students and users. A continual, annual process has been implemented to repair damages to the sprinkler system, remove debris, and relevel the field surface with top dressing to improve its playability. The south side of the soccer field is eroding into the adjacent creek, causing more issues with the safety of the surface and ultimately making the field beyond repair.
Due to the campus location in the extreme northwestern portion of the state, natural turf fields are rarely in optimal condition during spring and fall seasons due to short growing seasons and poor drainage. Despite continuous maintenance and restoration efforts, in the summer of 2018, the field was determined to be unsafe and unplayable. This action required the men's and women's soccer programs to rent offcampus facilities for both practices and competition, causing undue financial and logistic strains on already stressed programs.
The outdoor track and field complex is also located on the south end of campus and is rarely utilized by academic or co-curricular programs due to its location and condition. Built in 1973, the track has had several significant repairs in addition to being resurfaced in 1983, 1994, and 2004. The asphalt base of the track is failing and is well beyond its useful life. The surface is no longer able to be repaired with a new resurfacing application and has been determined to be unsafe for hosting events by the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. This has significantly limited the University's ability to host events, displacing students and limiting the economic impact the University could facilitate through events and tourism.
The recreation fields on the north side of Gates Gymnasium and the Marcovich Wellness Center were never constructed to be utilized as practice, recreation, and outdoor classrooms. The fields were constructed on clay and construction spoils, and the ground surface consists of material that is rocky and uneven. The fields do not drain properly and hold water in areas throughout the year.
Ole Hausgrud Stadium was constructed in 1954 and is no longer in utilization. The stadium, which was originally constructed for the former football program, consists of a crowned, natural turf football field surrounded by deteriorated fencing and dilapidated concrete stadium bleacher. The crowned playing surface limits utilization and the field dimensions make it unplayable for activities like soccer and lacrosse, which require a wide, flat playing surface. The field does not have any drainage or irrigation systems, as no drain tile or sub-surface drainage plane exists. Football was discontinued in 1991, and the University is unable to reinstate the program.
Redevelopment of this portion of the campus is needed and can assist in advancing the University's strategic academic and enrollment goals. Relocating these facilities from the south end of campus to the north side of the Marcovich Wellness Center (MWC) will provide increased access to academic and cocurricular programs. The relocation will leverage adjacencies not available on the south end of campus. Classrooms, locker rooms, training facilities, restrooms, concessions, and more would now be available to users. The facility would also alleviate the utilization pressures faced in MWC Fieldhouse. Extending the daily usage with exterior lighting, as well as the extended playing season by having an artificial surface, will greatly enhance the utilization by instructors and co-curricular programs.
This project redevelops the recreation fields north of the Gates Gym and the Marcovich Wellness Center, including Ole Haugsrud Stadium field and the adjacent residence hall parking lot. This project also replaces the natural turf soccer field and outdoor track and fields located on the south end of campus.
Project work includes excavation of the former football field, surrounding recreational fields, and adjacent residence hall parking lot; replacement of the existing soils with filtration fabric, engineered fill, and drain tile to provide appropriate drainage capabilities and features; and installation of new artificial turf, stormwater drainage and management infrastructure, field and site lighting, bleachers, and protective fencing around the entire site.
In addition to the new track and field, the project also includes a jumping area and replacement tennis courts on the south side.
The purpose of the Draft EIA is to identify the project’s potential impacts on the physical, biological, social, and economic environments. The Draft EIA describing these potential impacts is being made available to the public and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies for a 15-day minimum review period, starting November 18 and concluding December 2, 2022. Copies of the document are available for review online at: www.ayresprojectinfo.com.
If you are interested in this project or have any information relevant to it, we welcome your comments, suggestions, or other input. For consideration in the Final EIA, please submit your comments at the meeting or in writing by December 2, 2022. Comments in writing can be sent to:
Mitchell Banach, PG