Contractors have dug up the grass on 10 acres that had covered fields 2 through 5. The complex will keep its 11 other grass fields.
Scott Wollaston, Twin City’s executive director, said Tuesday that the plan is for an open-field setting that allows for four 65-by-110-yard fields and four small-scaled fields for younger players.
“The larger fields will nestle up closer to the hillsides with the smaller fields fitting in the middle between them,” Wollaston said.
Other than an artificial turf field at Wake Forest University, the new turf fields will be the only ones available in Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Yadkin, Stokes and Surry counties.
In April, the club announced plans to build three full-size artificial-turf fields on the west side of the clubhouse — the key component of a $6.9 million Twins Impact capital campaign. The club would have had to buy 28 acres for that portion of a four-phase expansion initiative.
The club also was negotiating at that time with Bermuda Run officials to create another entrance into the campus from the west, potentially through the Kinderton development or onto N.C. 801.
Those plans received some pushback from residents whose neighborhoods might have been affected by entering and exiting traffic generated by the sports park.
Wollaston said opposition by some neighbors was “one factor” in the club’s decision, “but it wasn’t the final determining factor.”
The club determined during a due-diligence period after the April announcement that there were wetland, buffer and other land-site issues that made the project more challenging than initially thought.
“It wasn’t going to be in the best interest of the club to proceed in that direction,” Wollaston said, adding that the club never took a rezoning request to Bermuda Run officials.
Wollaston said the layout for the 10-acre artificial-turf fields will help reduce the expansion’s overall cost. Building the fields on the west side of the clubhouse, with land clearing and grading included, was projected to cost between $850,000 and $1 million each.
At least $3.7 million has been raised through sponsorship efforts, highlighted by having BB&T Corp. retain naming rights of the sports park.
The club has about 3,000 youth and adult members, up from 650 when the complex opened in 2006. The club’s events, including Southeast and national club-soccer competitions, attract 250,000 visitors annually to the western Triad, with an economic impact of $16 million.
Both Wollaston and Richard Geiger, the president of Visit Winston-Salem, said having artificial-turf fields will expand each group’s ability to attract and recruit sports events, such as lacrosse and Ultimate Frisbee.
Geiger said the artificial-turf fields will allow tourism officials to provide more certainty to event organizers that their competitions will face fewer cancellations because of moderately bad weather. In the past, Twin City has had to shift matches to artificial-turf fields in Greensboro to avoid canceling high-level tournaments.
“The expansion allows for growth of existing tournaments in terms of number of teams, games, participants, hotel-room nights, as well as attracting new tournaments,” Geiger said. “Additional turf fields will provide a venue for sports that are more typically destructive to the field, such as lacrosse and rugby.”
Terry Bralley, the president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, expressed confidence that the expansion “will help grow more commerce, and serve as an opportunity to expose more families to all that Davie County has to offer.”
The sports campus project follows Twin City forming a MLS partnership with the Seattle Sounders FC.
The partnership provides club players with the opportunity to be placed on Sounders Academy teams in the future, as well as gives Twin City access to Sounders resources, such as coaching education workshops and player identification camps.