Image by Tom Rettig
Image by John Cannon
This summer, and just in time for football season, Fitton Field was resodded for the first time since it was constructed in 1903. The old field was replaced with a bluegrass blend from Tuckahoe Farms in Maine.
“This is huge,” Holy Cross football coach Tom Gilmore told the Telegram & Gazette in a recent article covering the major construction project. “This is our home field and having that field in great condition is going to improve our chances of winning more football games. It did get beat up pretty good the last couple years. We had to do something. Getting a whole new surface was the best possible solution.”
The initial steps of the resodding began in mid-April, followed by the removal of the old turf and installation of the new sod by the first of June. The grow-in process took most of the summer.
New safety netting was installed in the field and the entire surface was laser graded in addition to the resodding, but the improvements don’t stop there.
“Grounds personnel completed a substantial overhaul of the irrigation system including: replacing the all irrigation heads, reconfiguring the main supply line, replacing, moving and rewiring all the zone valves,” says Ted Heywood, superintendent of grounds. “Grounds worked with the Plumbing Shop to bring the existing well between the football and baseball stadiums online to supply the football field. This will save over 1.1 million gallons of potable water per year.”
The updates to the field have and will continue to be beneficial — from using less pesticides and herbicides due to the new disease and insect resistant type of turfgrass selected and reducing financial costs of supplying water to the field, to providing players with more stable and consistent footing and giving students and visitors a more enjoyable gameday experience.
The updates to Fitton Field have not gone unnoticed.
Holy Cross received an Honor Award in the category of athletic fields from the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) in the 2016 Green Star Award competition. This award, which recognizes exceptional grounds maintenance, is grounds’ seventh national recognition.
As we look forward to the future of the newly resodded Fitton Field, take a look back to one of the earliest photos of the field taken in 1908. This photo was taken just three years after the field was dedicated to Rev. James Fitton, who purchased the 52 acres Holy Cross was founded upon, eventually deeding it to Bishop Benedict Fenwick in 1843.
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