Field Renovations on Track at Beckham Field
Aug. 12, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Driving on Marion Street this summer by the Roost, people may have noticed work going on at Beckham Field. As part of the ongoing renovations to all athletic facilities, the most historic site in Southeastern Conference softball received new drainage and turf as part of its ongoing work this summer.
"The field renovation is a snapshot into the future of South Carolina softball," head softball coach Beverly Smith said. "I'd like to thank Eric Hyman and the administration for their support in making this project a reality. With the new surface, fencing and upgraded bullpens, the Gamecock softball team will practice and compete on a field that is first class."
The work, which began in June by Athletic Field Construction, included removal of the old system and excavating the field and dirt over a foot deep. Drainage pipes were installed 20 feet apart across the field. Around the pipes are four inches of gravel topped by a 10-inch-deep mix of sand and peat moss. Also under that mix is a new irrigation system, which will help the Bermuda grass like what is installed at Carolina Stadium to stay green most of the year.
During the first week of August, the group installed new infield clay and the new warning track around the entire field. Sod instillation should begin next week after being delayed some by the weather recently in Columbia. New fencing and synthetic turf in the reconstructed bullpens will be towards the end of the project. The new fence will add a foot to the height
"The biggest difference people will notice is the synthetic bullpens and the fact we will now have grass skirts framing the infield instead of all clay," said Clark Cox, sports turf manager for the Gamecocks. The field is designed similar to the Carolina Stadium field and will drain much faster than the old one."
Classes start on Aug. 18, and the team will begin their fall practices in the early part of September on the new surface.