Facility Profile - March 2012
Find a printable version here

Sports Facilities

A Community Gets Active
Allen Fields in Angel Fire, New Mexico

By Rick Dandes

The actual construction began in September 2010, and most of that was just clearing the land. Allen Fields opened on July 13, 2011.

"From the very beginning, the field was used, and that has been very gratifying," Orr said. "I like the fact that it has a dual purpose and that it's not only for soccer. We have youth soccer every year, and we play most of those games in Taos. But we also have high school soccer and during the school year, when they have to practice, there have been up to 98 kids on that field at any one time, every single night. We also have a youth football league, and on the weekend, we have adult leagues playing soccer. I also held softball tournaments."

Orr said revenue is raised when the teams that use the field for practice pay a field usage fee. The village council approved a fee schedule for organized use of the complex. "We brought in a softball tournament, and the money that was collected for games went toward upkeep of the field," Orr said. The field, however, is available at no charge for casual use.

"Now that this first phase is all done, the field is everything I thought and hoped it would be. In fact, we'd like to start a second one. The original project design had two fields; one was the mirror image of the other, with a concession stand and picnic area in between. But of course, money is always an issue."

Meanwhile, recalling his time spent on the project, Baldonado said much could be learned from his experience. "First and foremost," he said, "using the right people who understand all the challenges and the needs of the project is key to getting what you need. It also helps get the project done at the right price."

A good lesson here, he said, is: Given the space you have, you don't necessarily have to focus on one sport or to make one group of people happy. There can be flexibility. "You can go further with your money by having a multi-sport facility," he said.

Recreational-park directors need to understand that not every contractor or architect has the experience to help design a facility that will meet their needs, Baldonado continued. He recommends finding the proper team through an organization like the Americans Sports Builders Association (ASBA).

"These are the people that have put in the time to become experts on various sports fields and events," he said.

"Finally, the best thing about this project is that the fields are being used all the time. People are really enjoying it," Baldonado said. "Kids will be playing soccer and softball and even practicing football at the same time and I like that. I like seeing kids out there enjoying the facility."

Shaw SportExe: www.shawsportexe.com
Lone Mountain Contracting: www.lone-mountain-contracting.com