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Christopher Newport University’s Athletic Expansion Contributes to National Ranking of Athletic Program

For the past 11 years, Christopher Newport University (CNU) has been working with Koontz-Bryant, P.C. to expand its athletic facilities as well as other campus facilities. Koontz-Bryant has helped the university with capital improvements in excess of $600 million.

CNU Field Hockey and Lacrosse FieldKoontz-Bryant joined the CNU team in 1999, with a fast track project for field hockey and lacrosse team practice fields. The challenge for CNU was finding an engineer who could meet a very compressed schedule, so Koontz-Bryant was called in to assist the university’s athletic department with the expansion. Koontz-Bryant prepared construction plans which included grading (shaping of the land), drainage, and irrigation water lines (utilities); prepared erosion and sediment control plans; and assisted with obtaining necessary agency approvals. The project began with a design survey of the existing land in the fall, and was completed the following summer, allowing the university to start the fall athletic season with the new facility.

CNU Baseball FieldAs the university expanded its athletic program, new needs arose for more athletic facilities. The expansion included an NCAA baseball facility (field and stadium) with spectator seating for 850, walkways, a batting cage, parking and a 1,625 square foot brick press box/restroom facility. The laser graded playing field used a state of the art drainage system, irrigation system, special blend soil mix and Bermuda grass. A low profile brick retaining wall was constructed between the dug-outs at the base of the seating area to elevate the spectator sight lines. A massive earth berm was built to accommodate the press box and structured seating area and to provide informal viewing areas on grass hillsides. The CNU baseball program moved into the new Captains Park before the 2004 season and success quickly followed with a 64% winning rate of the games played in the new facility. Captains Park hosts over 20 Captains home games each season and has also been the home of the Virginia High School Coaches Association All-Star game for the past several years.

The CNU softball field was also part of the expansion of the athletic department. With the first pitch thrown on March 1, 2005, Christopher Newport entered a new era in its women’s softball history. The opening of Captains Park gave the extremely successful program a fitting home, one of the finest in the region. The project consisted of an NCAA competition level softball field, spectator seating, elevated announcer/press area, walkways, batting cage and parking. The laser graded playing field also used a state of the art drainage system with capabilities that will make rainouts a rare occurrence, irrigation system, special blend soil mix and Bermuda grass. There are also bull pens adjacent to each dugout and a section of comfortable, major league stadium type, chairback seating directly behind home plate. Informal viewing areas on grass slopes were also built on an earth berm in addition to the structured seating area. According to Jon Waters, Senior Associate Director of Athletics at CNU, the expansion of the university’s athletic facilities contributed to the success of their athletic teams.

“Our overall success as an athletic department has skyrocketed as our facilities have come on line. In a decade we have built baseball, softball, reconfigured our track, built a stadium field and an artificial turf facility. We wouldn’t have taken a step without the expertise of the Koontz-Bryant team.”

This past year the CNU softball team went on to win 2nd place in the National Championship Game.

CNU Track and FieldKoontz-Bryant was able to salvage useable portions of CNU’s existing running track with the renovation of its track and field facility. The university needed a facility that adhered stringently to the NCAA regulations for regional meets. The reconfiguration of the layout improved the logistical operation of events. High-tech running surface material was installed and the number of long jump and pole vault runs/pits was increased.

The athletic expansion also included the addition of an artificial turf field for the CNU field hockey/lacrosse facility. The field needed to be built within a condensed construction schedule and required a storm water management and treatment system. The project involved an artificial turf field to be used for NCAA field hockey games, lacrosse games and intramural sports. The artificial turf field included a gravel drainage layer, perimeter drainage collection system, laser graded sub-grade and a storm water quality treatment system integrated into the storm water collection system. In addition to design, Koontz-Bryant obtained the required approvals from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Koontz-Bryant continues to service CNU’s athletic facility needs as well as their campus expansion needs.

“Over the past dozen years Koontz-Bryant has met every challenge that we have been able to throw at them. They have been a critical part of our team that has helped us accomplish such a wide variety of projects always on time and within budget. Koontz-Bryant’s commitment to our projects is legendary. They are accessible, consistent, innovative and willing to think outside the box to help us achieve at the highest level.”

Jon Waters, Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Christopher Newport University, July 19, 2011