Brownfield to Athletic Complex, a Site Transformed

Brownfield to Athletic Complex, a Site Transformed

The athletic fields on the Harborside Campus of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI provide a picturesque setting on the shore of Narragansett Bay. It wasn’t always so ideal. Decades earlier, the site was home to various industries, and it had been classified as a brownfield. JWU has worked hard to revitalize the area, and a key part of that is developing a new waterfront athletic complex.

JWU’s Providence campus began participation in NCAA athletics in 1995. For the next eighteen years, the athletics department rented nearby locations for their outdoor practices and games.

The University hired Woodard & Curran to create a master plan and provide design services to develop a vacant portion of the waterfront brownfield into recreation facilities. These facilities include three natural-grass fields for baseball, softball, and soccer practice, and one state-of-the-art synthetic multi-purpose turf field. The project includes a soil cap over the site, drainage and stormwater management, site grading, and associated structures such as scoreboards, seating berms, bleachers, a grandstand/press box, and more. The athletic fields were designed with best practices in mind, like minimizing sun glare and NCAA compliance.

The athletic facilities are just one part of the brownfield renewal. The complex was designed to integrate with existing and future buildings and the Urban Coastal Greenway — a park and walking path that provides public access to the Bay. Environmental education signage is incorporated throughout the site in partnership with the nearby Save the Bay organization.

“It’s a fantastic site, aesthetically” said Rich Zarlenga, JWU’s project manager, as told to Johnson & Wales University Magazine. “The views of the Bay nicely compliment the [Urban Coastal] Greenway. It transforms brownfields into something the university will be proud of for a long, long time.”

Read more about Woodard & Curran’s property development and site-civil engineering practices, brownfield remediation, athletic field construction services, or the advantages of synthetic turf.

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