UMass Boyden Athletic Fields Support Recreational Sports

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMA) is a major public research university in America with more than 31,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university is home to 21 NCAA Division I teams and a robust recreation program with intramural and club sports. To support the latter, UMA hired Woodard & Curran to plan, permit, and design comprehensive upgrades to its Boyden Athletic Fields. 

The 5.3-acre facility now includes a synthetic turf field with shock pad and field markings for soccer, flag football, and softball, as well as additional recreation space, LED field lighting, water bottle filling station, equipment storage, and ADA accessible parking and walkway. The upgrade also addressed stormwater drainage and treatment, subsurface infrastructure, and a new electrical service. 

The project began with extensive site investigations and collaboration with UMA personnel to understand the constraints involved with redeveloping the existing natural grass fields to synthetic turf. Woodard & Curran produced multiple conceptual layouts and cost estimates based on various sizes and quantities of proposed fields at various locations around the 40-acre facility. This helped inform the planning and design of the final layout, which included surveying, geotechnical investigation, synthetic turf field design, and electrical service upgrades to support new LED lighting. UMA opted for LEDs to conserve energy and reduce light pollution from the fields. 

With wetlands adjacent to the project site, Woodard & Curran’s stormwater experts aided in design elements to reduce stormwater runoff and improve stormwater treatment to meet Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) requirements. The earthwork was challenging between balancing earthwork on-site, navigating clay soils and existing subsurface utilities that were to remain in-service, and constructing the new synthetic field while not disrupting other programming and functioning of the facility. 

The project team took a comprehensive stepwise approach, which allowed the project to be designed and bid, with approval for construction as originally scheduled and within UMA’s budget. Site work began in the spring of 2019 and complete by November 2019. The final project was recognized with an American Sports Builders Association’s Distinguished Multi-Field Facility Award in 2020.


University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts


Technical Manager
Recreational Facilities