SIERRA VISTA — Many of the city ball fields received facelifts last year which allowed Sierra Vista to host a number of Little League tournaments, which in turn helped the local economy. However, many still remained in need of work.
A new partnership between the City of Sierra Vista and Schneider Electric has a solution to the local soccer fields that are prone to divots and being closed for maintenance. Earlier this year, the city approved the financing of a nearly $14 million project that aims to make Sierra Vista 22 percent more efficient when it comes to electricity, and bring artificial turf fields to the area.
“This is a project that has taken well over a year,” said Director of Leisure and Library Services Laura Wilson. “We feel this community deserves the best we can give.”
She added the price tag of the projects does not affect the tax on property values.
Work for projects begin Aug. 5 with the installation of LED field lighting at Domingo Paiz Sports Complex, which is expected to conclude by mid-September. Seventeen city fields/courts will receive the new energy-efficient lights, which equates to 454 high-intensity discharge fixtures that will be replaced with the high-efficiency LED systems.
“This started with just changing some light bulbs,” said Brandon Woodward, the project director for Schneider Electric.
Construction of the five synthetic turf solution soccer fields is scheduled to begin by late September and will be installed by Hellas. Three fields will be constructed at Eddie Cyr Park and two will be made in Domino Paiz Complex.
Each of the fields will be used solely for soccer, but they will be lined for different age groups so multiple teams can use them. Ten-foot tall metal fencing will surround the turf fields to prevent people who haven’t rented them from using them.
“There is a difference in definition for park and ball field,” Wilson said. “A ball field is not a park. We have to protect the nice things we bring in.”
Arash Nadershahi, the project manager from Schneider Electric, said at a sports leagues meeting Tuesday night that they are estimating each field will take 45 to 50 days to complete.
“The scope of the work is very large,” Nadershahi said. “We wanted to start after the monsoon season because we will be high up and we didn’t want to work in in the high winds and electricity with the monsoons.”
In addition to the lights being more efficient with electricity, the addition of turf fields will help the city cut costs when it comes to water. It’s estimated that the five artificial field will save roughly 8 million gallons of water a year.
The projects are expected to be complete in the early months of 2020.
The installations will result in some field closures, which has led to rescheduling for some fall leagues.
“This will cause some logistical nightmares, but we will all take a deep breath and come up with creative solutions,” Wilson told the leagues’ representatives. “We’re going to have to play field jenga. We have to be less optimal to be optimal (in the future).”
Wilson assured the communication between the city and the leagues will be frequent to help accommodate them all throughout the construction and installation.
The hope is the new synthetic soccer fields will help bring teams from Tucson and tournaments to Sierra Vista, which will improve the level of competition and help the local economy with out-of-town visitors.
“This project will help us way further down the line,” Wilson said.