News: Newly renovated Pop Warner Field reopens
Story by Christine Cabalo
KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii - Gathering around the new gridiron, Marine Corps Base Hawaii officials reopened Pop Warner field with a morning blessing held April 11.
Rev. Ed Sproat, a minister with the Apostolic Faith Church in Honolulu, led the ceremony in Hawaiian and English. Col. Brian P. Annichiarico, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, spoke before the blessing and officially untied twin maile leis to open the new space.
“It’s an extremely durable turf,” said Navy Lt. John Daly, resident officer in charge of construction, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii. “The field will require some maintenance, but much less than other fields using different materials.”
Daly said the playing field and running track are comprised of new building material made from recycled rubber. The field turf features a rubber grain infill, which is shock absorbent and designed for less wear on an athlete’s joints. The turf is the same material used at Aloha Stadium, Daly said.
Both the track and the field are also properly calibrated for official use. The track is marked for running and hurdling events while the field features both soccer markings and college football field lines.
The field should last for the next 10 to 15 years or longer, said Allan Ng, the construction manager for the resident officer in charge of construction at Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii.
“Maintenance can now be focused on cleaning and grooming the field,” Ng said. “They won’t need to water it or wait for it to dry out in wet weather. We can also easily replace areas that get torn, since the material is tied together, almost weaved or sewn together. The field lines are literally bonded to the turf. The lines are not painted on, but painstakingly cut and glued or sewn in.”
Maintenance crews will only need to rake the surface periodically so the rubber infill is evenly spread out. Ng and Daly said this reduces downtime needed for maintenance. Ng said the field is also usable in wet weather, since crews installed an extensive underground drainage system that prevents large puddles from forming.
Daly and Ng said they took environmentally conscious efforts during the project to ensure safety. When construction crews dug underground and found high levels of petroleum, NAVFAC was able to safely dispose of the contaminates to ensure the area was safe for use.
“The field is ready to stand up to all the usage,” Daly said. “It’s important for everyone to be mindful and take care of it, including not littering or spitting on the field.”
The next official games on the field will be intramural soccer matches, but civilians and base personnel are already testing out their new home turf.