A Game Changer: A Springfield Sports Complex Project Feature
What used to be raw farmland near the Springfield-Branson National Airport is well on its way to becoming a large sports complex that organizers hope will encourage tourism and become a premier sports destination.
Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS) was awarded the sitework package and asphalt paving package for this project. The comprehensive grading and underground utilities for the complex began in early May of this year. Now, Phase 1 of the Betty and Bobby Allison Sports Town is nearly 90 percent complete, with phase 2 slated for completion by mid to late next year. ESS Project Manager Ron Antonini says the first soccer tournament is scheduled for the end of March 2022.
“Our scope of work on phase 2 is roughly 70% complete. They were planning on playing soccer in September, but had to push the date back due to delays on the project schedule caused by inclement weather and unforeseen site conditions.” According to Antonini, the project was slightly delayed due to the extensive amounts of rock ESS crews encountered on the site. “The grading had to be redesigned to stay away from the rock as much as possible and a lot of trench rock breaking has been done. This in turn slowed down our grading operations and continues to slow down the underground utilities installation scope of work, still underway.”
Once the project is complete, ESS crews will have moved more than 210,000 cubic yards of dirt, installed roughly 7,000 linear feet of storm drainage and 70 drainage and sanitary sewer structures. Concrete work included 10,000 linear feet of curb and gutter.
With play to begin early next year on the soccer fields, city leaders are looking towards the future. Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau President, Tracy Kimberlin, says it’s a great complex that is very professionally done.
“It will mean that we’ll eventually be able to host more and bigger tournaments that we haven’t been able to go after before. Turf allows you to get more games in during inclement weather and all the lights will allow night play. That’s what tournament organizers are looking for.”
The new complex is expected to have a $16 million tourism impact with a commercial retail complex planned nearby. That development is expected to begin construction next year and will include two hotels, retail space, a convenience store and restaurants.
Antonini added that the best part of the project for him has been the hard work and determination put forth by all the ESS employee-owners working on the project. “Our grading and pipe crews rock. They have done a great job overcoming challenges and keeping the project on budget.”