Fields of Dreams: A revamped Stoneman Athletic Complex opens for play
July 22, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (July 19, 2013) -- Sports fanatics, young and old, are familiar with the 1989 classic "Field of Dreams." The baseball flick is an essential for their home theater collections and often ranks among their top five picks for greatest sports films ever made.
The reason for the film's mass appeal isn't in the action and spectacular plays -- though seeing legendary figures like Shoeless Joe Jackson alive again is a dream come true for many -- but in the game, the field and all the sights, smells, sounds that come with it.
"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball," says the character Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) in a conversation with Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner).
"America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers," Mann continues. "It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again, but baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and it could be again. Oh … people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come."
Mann's sentiments, voiced in Jones' smooth baritone, would have been a perfect compliment to the unveiling of the new Stoneman Multi-Purpose Athletic Complex, here, July 8.
For more than a year, construction crews and equipment had been the main players on the grassy expanse following demolition of Stoneman Softball Field, Gimlet Field and Stoneman Stadium in 2012. But after a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, the diamonds were abuzz again with teams to mark the beginning of the inaugural intramural softball games.
A brief rundown of the new complex's stats include three softball fields, complete with high-tech Turface field surfacing and Musco lighting; a lighted soccer/football field hedged with a 400-meter rubber track; a fitness trail that runs about a mile in length around the perimeter of the complex, with eight workout stations interspaced along the entire route; and a concession stand and restrooms.
"There's more variety for people to work out; we thought it would be a nice addition for people in the community," said Ron Locklar, chief, Community Recreation Division; Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
Sustainable features include LED lights as well as a pervious parking and drainage system that directs water back into the underground aquifer, all of which earned the complex a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
"By doing certain things, you receive more points, and it speaks more to how 'green' your facility is," Locklar said. "It goes LEED Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, so LEED Silver means your facility is pretty environmentally strong."
While functional, the new Stoneman complex also was designed with aesthetics in mind: Green fencing seamlessly blends with the surrounding neighborhood, and tropical plants, such as hibiscus and palms, lend a relaxed, park-like atmosphere to the landscape.
"In the plaza, we put in large trees that when they grow up will provide shade for people when they sit there and eat, and the way the hedges are set, when they grow in, they'll hide cars," Locklar said. "It looks much more like a park than it did before."
The Stoneman Athletic Complex is a nonappropriated fund (NAF) major construction project, meaning it was built without benefit of taxpayer dollars.
Planning began in 2008, with an original completion date of 2012; however, as the athletic complex is part of the historical Cambry neighborhood, Locklar explained that the updated design needed to fit within the context of 1920-1946.
"That's the time frame that's historical, so you want to keep the facility looking similar to that time period," Locklar stated. "We worked with all the environmental groups -- SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office), the Outdoor Circle and the Hawaiian Historical Society, and they have all praised this program and facility.
"It was a real partnership in developing the area," he added. "Ultimately, the product is something that we're very pleased and proud about."
The end result is a dynamic, practical, green space that Locklar believes will help the garrison better meet its mission to serve its Soldiers.
"They're state-of-the-art fields, which give us a lot more flexibility," Locklar said. "We can run larger and more full intramural programs, we can have more compacted league schedules, and the softball fields could be set up for soccer or football, so it gives us a lot more fields to run larger and/or shorter leagues that would fit better with Soldiers' training and deployment cycles.
"As much as it can be, we got it right," Locklar said.
The new Stoneman Athletic Complex is open for use by Soldiers and families, now, with access to the fitness trail, parking, surrounding green space and track.
Intramural sports teams can make reservations for the softball fields by contacting 808-655-8678 or 655-0922.