By Ilka Cole, Team Eglin Public Affairs
/ Published January 10, 2017
The Foster Field track by the East Gate shoppette is currently closed through April while artificial turf is placed in the field area. This renovation was funded with the money gained when Eglin Air Force Base earned runner-up status in the Commander in Chief Excellence Award last year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole)
The running track at Foster Field near the East Gate is closed until April, for the installation of artificial turf on the track infield.
The four-month construction project scheduled to begin this week provides a low-maintenance, multi-purpose sports field with marked lines. The artificial turf’s dimensions will be 300 feet by 200 feet. Some natural grass will remain at each end of the track, said Dave Wolfson, 96th Civil Engineer Group.
“The real advantage to the turf will be its level surface,” said Tony Jadin, Eglin fitness and sports manager. “This will decrease the hazards of playing on an uneven surface for the athletes.”
The current field was difficult to maintain due to frequent sprinkler system repairs, lack of funding for sod, fertilizer, reseeding and expertise in proper field maintenance.
An upgrade was requested in the late 90s, but it was not a priority and no funds were available until last year when Eglin was named the Air Force runner up in the 2016 CinC Installation Excellence Award. The program recognized outstanding and innovative military installations with a monetary award for quality of life improvements.
The decision to install the artificial turf was made after the 96th Force Support Squadron conducted a base survey. The highest requested enhancement was artificial turf.
The multi-purpose field will be used primarily for soccer and flag football. It will also be used for races, kickball, tug of war and other recreational games during field days and to host wounded warrior events.
In the meantime, athletes can use the running path behind the track. Alternate running tracks are also behind the base hospital, the 33rd Fighter Wing area, and across from Unity Park.
For more information, call the fitness center at 882-6223 or the fitness annex at 883-9127.