Home Field Advantage at Fowler High School
Building the “Greatest Show Under Turf”
Significant structural, geotechnical, and site engineering went into constructing a sound and stable foundation for all design components. It is typical in site design to do soil borings to identify the bearing capacity of the existing material to support structural features and to design pavement sections to support the loads of vehicles. Boring results for this project showed variation in soil profiles that made having one overarching solution impossible. In conjunction with existing building foundations, the varying thicknesses and locations of peat posed an issue of how to construct a facility that wouldn’t have differential settlement.
The design team evaluated three general ideas, and each option was weighed for cost, timeline, and long-term stability. After considering all factors, the decision was made to install a structural slab reinforced by timber piles that would support the surface features and extend through the peat to stable native material. The design incorporates a 12-inch structural slab built over 1,368 piles driven to reach non-expansive soil/bedrock, thereby creating a structure on which the track and field could be erected. Additionally, to address drainage, a traditional herringbone pattern underdrainage system was installed on the surface of the slab. A trench drain was also cast into the concrete slab, and a form was used to depress the slab to allow for the trench drain to be pinned.