Construction on the Packers' new Nitschke Field, the team's practice field on the east side of the Don Hutson Center, is progressing well and nearing its final phases, Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration/general counsel, reported today.
The project, which began last September, is expected to be completed in time for training camp this summer.
"We're looking forward to the start of training camp and having this great new fan-friendly facility ready for use," Wied said. "Our visitors will have a safer, more enjoyable experience watching the Packers get ready for the 2009 season."
Among the most noteworthy components of the project are the new permanent seating structure for approximately 1,500 fans on the field's east side, a natural grass field incorporated with DD GrassMaster, the same surface featured on Lambeau Field and Clarke Hinkle Field, a heated portion of the playing field for late-season practices and permanent lighting for night practices.
FIELDS, an athletic field and landscape development company out of Canton, Ga., is the general contractor for the project and DA Hogan & Associates, Inc., Seattle, Wash., is the architect. The two companies teamed to oversee the new playing surfaces installed in recent years on Lambeau Field and Clarke Hinkle Field.
The project's first stages involved the construction of a new parking lot on the site of the former Nitschke Field. Once that was completed in November, the parking lot on the new field site was prepared for work.
Currently, the field's sand root-zone mix is being installed on top of drainage and irrigation systems. The south end of the field includes a heating system that encompasses 55 yards of the playing surface.
Sod is scheduled to be placed on the surface on approximately May 6. By the end of June, the roots should be sufficiently developed to begin the application of the DD GrassMaster component, a process that will be completed in late July, in time for the beginning of training camp.
The seating area structure is in place and bleachers will be installed in the next few weeks. Field lighting units currently are undergoing a break-in period and will be on for the next few days.
More than 10 local and state companies have worked on the project as subcontractors, including Tweet/Garot Mechanical (Green Bay), VDH Electric (Green Bay), Zeise Construction (Green Bay), Fortress Fencing (Green Bay), Rainmaster Irrigation (Green Bay), Northeast Asphalt (Appleton), Peters Concrete (Green Bay), Zoll Brock White (pavers, Green Bay), County Materials Corporation (wall units in seating structure, Green Bay), J.W. Industries (bleachers, Green Bay) and Faulk Brothers (field root-zone components, Waupaca). Those local companies have used about 24,000 man hours for the project, many of which were through the winter season.
"It has been a great project to be involved in, particularly for us at this time with business being a little slower with the economy," said Mike Sturdivant, Tweet/Garot Mechanical executive vice president. "Much of it has been labor intensive, so we've had eight or nine workers on the project at times. It's really been a win-win."