Earlier in 2023, the National Sports Center was awarded $9.6M in funds from the state of Minnesota for asset preservation. The facility is state-owned and managed by the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF). The nearly 34-year-old facility has millions of dollars in deferred maintenance across the 690-acre campus. The NSCF staff have grouped projects into the following buckets to help prioritize construction and make improvements for customers on campus;
- Safety – making improvements and or updates that keep users safe
- Access – making improvements and or updates that provide better access and use for all athletes
- Sustainability – making improvements and or updates that are more environmentally friendly and economically conscious.
The funds awarded this year have already been put to good use, with improved ADA accessibility access installed at the campus Welcome Center, Sports Expo Center, M Health Fairview Dome and Victory Links Golf Course. This week installation of a new campus irrigation mainline is underway. This will connect the north and south sides of campus together for the first time. Resulting in reducing stress on the aquifers on campus. Additionally, all the irrigation piping is made from environmentally friendly materials. The upgraded irrigation will allow the grass fields to thrive and stand up to the play at the facility, improving the safety for players and referees and overall customer experience.
Fields 9-12 are currently under demolition, as the National Sports Center looks to rebuild the fields to create a safer and better playing surface. These fields are set to be complete and in use summer of 2024. NSCF Staff were given the opportunity to assist in demolition and moving dirt from the quad. Dirt will be used in other areas of the campus for improvements. There is a five-year plan for grass field renovations, and this is the first quad to be part of the field renovation plan.
Soon to come, fields 55 and 56 will be converted to FieldTurf artificial turf surface. This project will get started yet this month with anticipated completion by July of 2024. Artificial turf has been part of the NSC field improvement strategy. Increased amount of artificial turf fields will allow our tournaments to continue play in inclement weather without causing long-term damage to our grass fields. Field conditions are more consistent on turf fields and allow us to start our playing season’s earlier (and finish later) in the year when conditions are wet and can cause long term damage to the grass, while allowing us to maximize use of the grass fields during the core playing season.