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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

William Rolland Field Construction Completion Date Updated

Izzy de Souza
Field construction began in mid-November of 2023, with the anticipated completion date being Jan. 15, 2024. Now, after several weather delays, the field is not expected to be complete until Apr. 19, 2024.

After several weather delays, the turf field within California Lutheran University’s William Rolland Stadium is now scheduled to be completed on April 19, 2024 as opposed to its anticipated completion date of Jan. 15, 2024.

William Rolland Stadium is Cal Lutheran’s two-story stadium that consists of 2,000 seats, and an artificial turf field that has been utilized for outdoor sports for the past 12 years.

FieldTurf, the company performing the construction on the turf field, said it is expected that turf fields should be replaced every 8-10 years to ensure proper performance and safety. 

In an email interview with Associate Vice President of Planning & Services Ryan Van Ommeren, he said that the funds behind the turf renovation project were taken out of the Capital Project Reserve fund. This fund, he said, has been built up for the past few years and contained budget surpluses.

“Work to replace the 12 year-old turf at Rolland Stadium started in mid-November, but work was unfortunately suspended on December 22 following the first of what became many significant rainstorms,” Van Ommeren said. “Contractor work had to be suspended, as the soil underneath a 6” ‘drainage layer’ became saturated, and was unable to support the installation equipment.”

Van Ommermen said that they began covering the field on Feb. 2, 2024, after they discovered that the rainwater was seeping through the liner separating the soil and the drainage layer.

“Two attempts to remobilize the contractor were suspended, as further rain continued to saturate the soil. Finally, after developing a system to cover the field during rainstorms (with assistance of dozens of athlete-volunteers), the field passed a compaction test on March 23,” Van Ommeren said. “Work is now scheduled to resume on April 03 (after waiting for another storm to pass), and complete on April 19 (and thanks again to our volunteer athletes, coaches, and athletic director!).” 

Athletic Facilities & Sports Event Operations Manager Matt Lea provided specifics regarding machinery complications with field renovations.

“There’s so much heavy machinery that goes on the field to be able to lay out the turf… when it was raining they were noticing that there were big divots into the ground, and that it was leaving trenches,” Lea said. “A lot of that is because there was water under the surface that was not draining because of all the rain that we were getting. So with the machinery out there, the company didn’t feel good enough about laying it [the turf].”

After learning about the drainage problem during the first few months of construction, Lea said that they had to begin covering the field to shield it from the rain.

“We didn’t cover it at the beginning because obviously we didn’t know. When we started getting so much rain and we couldn’t get it to drain, we figured out that, facilities thought it would be best to cover it and help with keeping more of the water off. That definitely has helped, and they’ve noticed that it has helped,” Lea said.

Lea also said that another issue that the project faced was aligning schedules with FieldTurf.

“When we do push back, FieldTurf has other projects around the country and the world that they’re doing, so then we’re basically on their time. When we’re telling them that we’re ready, then we gotta make sure that they’re ready, so the timing has to match up,” Lea said.

In an email sent on March 28, 2024, University President Lori Varlotta addressed how the recent weather patterns have delayed progress on the field renovations, and acknowledged the impact this has had on teams, especially the women’s lacrosse team.

“The storms that battered the region in the winter and spring months caused numerous delays and obstacles. Sadly, our women’s lacrosse team was highly affected. Unable to use the stadium, the players and coaches ended up relying on regional venues for home contests. This made it difficult for Cal Lutheran friends and family to attend and offer the kind of support that bolsters play. I stand with many others who feel very badly that the team was impacted in this way,” Varlotta said.

These delays, Lea said, have caused many scheduling issues with the Cal Lutheran women’s lacrosse team, who have yet to have a home game this season due to delays in the turf project.

“We’re hoping that we can maybe get one or two last lacrosse games in there, possibly for their senior day would be great. That’s what our hopes are,” Lea said.

Senior day for the women’s lacrosse team is currently set for Apr. 24, 2024.

Due to a storm that hit Thousand Oaks the weekend of March 30-31, the turf field was covered once again in an effort to avoid any more delays.

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