Feb. 11, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball program completed a three month-long renovation at Jackie Robinson Stadium when the team took the field for practice Monday. In addition to installing a state-of-the-art natural grass surface and a revamped irrigation and drainage system, UCLA renovated both bullpens with synthetic turf, applied new vinyl screens to the outfield fence and lower backstop behind home plate and upgraded both dugouts.
Home to UCLA baseball since 1981, Jackie Robinson Stadium will be the site of Saturday's annual Alumni Game.
"We are very proud of our brand new playing surface, as well as the many additional upgrades at Jackie Robinson Stadium," head coach John Savage said. "We're striving to turn this stadium into one of the premier college baseball facilities in the country. Our players are going to have an opportunity to play on a major league surface while competing at UCLA."
Turf crews installed over 100,000 square feet of natural grass sod in addition to a 1,000 square-foot sod farm behind the right field fence in mid-January. The Tiffway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass, with a special blend rye overseed for the winter, grew for over one year in Palm Desert, Calif.
Dirt on the warning track, infield and pitcher's mound consists of three different custom-blended materials, specific to the needs of UCLA's baseball program. The dirt used at Jackie Robinson Stadium also furnishes the field at Petco Park, home to the San Diego Padres.
A rubberized surface extends in foul territory from dugout to dugout. The new surface will provide a clean look not only behind home plate, but also in front of both dugouts.
Prior to the installation of the turf and dirt, construction crews spent two months establishing a durable drainage system with proper irrigation. The drainage system at Jackie Robinson Stadium features approximately 1,200 linear feet of an eight-inch perimeter main drain. Over 22,000 linear feet of multi-flow drain connects to the main perimeter drain. Every sprinkler head is fed by a three-inch main with over 6,000 linear feet of irrigation lines throughout the playing field.
Ballpark dimensions remain at 330 feet down the lines, 370 feet to each power alleys and 395 feet to straight-away center field. Engineering of the drainage system allows the field to be "almost flat."
Both bullpens received a rubber-filled synthetic grass surface for year-round usage.
New vinyl screens, featuring a new yellow home run stripe sewn into the screening, cover the entire interior of the field. Behind home plate, the vinyl screen contains logos from Easton as well as the text "UCLA Baseball".
Among the final touches to the ballpark, the trim and roofs of the concession stand and press box were painted dark green, keeping the entire facility's color scheme consistent with the outfield fence and chairback seats.
The renovation project began when construction crews bulldozed the field surface Tuesday, Nov. 20, just days after the baseball team concluded its annual Blue-Gold World Series.