BSM designs ‘green’ fields

Taylor Kenyon

“Going green” has become an important focus at BSM, as can be seen with the implementation of composting in the lunchroom, motion light sensors in many rooms and offices, and the innovative ideas about becoming paperless. However, what many people do not know is that BSM has applied their “going green” goals with both the design and construction of the new fields.

The moral compulsion to care for the environment drove BSM to make sure it went above and beyond with the construction of the fields. “It is part of our faith calling, the Catholic social teachings state that we should be a good steward of nature by caring for God’s creation,” said Dr. Bob Tift.

BSM has applied their goal to be as environmentally friendly as possible to both the design and construction of the new fields. “Obviously there were requirements by the law and city be we really wanted to go above and beyond,” said Dr.Tift.

Because part of the new construction zone is protected by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the new outdoor plans had to be approved by more than the city officials. “We worked with the DNR, the Minnehaha Water Shed District, and the Soils & Water Department. We first evaluated how well the wetlands were functioning,” said Dr.Tift.

BSM found that the biggest environmental impact came from the unfiltered water runoff from the buildings and parking lot being washed straight into the wetlands. “The goal is to make it so the water runoff flows into two holding ponds. The sediment will sink to the bottom and the clear water will sit on the top. Then there is an overflow pipe under the fields leading to the wetlands,” said Dr. Tift

This holding pond system not only keeps the wetland clean of pollution but it also ensures that no pollution from BSM will end up in local lakes. “The water will be completely cleaned out by the time it gets to the lakes, like Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Creek,” said Dr. Tift.

The wetlands are now much closer to the DNR protected area than they were before, creating a a better functioning natural habitat; however, the new wetlands are very fragile right now so BSM has hired help to make sure they become successful and strong. “We are paying to monitor the wetlands for the next 5 years [to prevent] any receding and get invasive species out,” said Dr. Tift.

BSM works to do their part to make sure the wetlands can grow properly by following set rules and regulations. “We try not to walk on it as much as possible, we do not do any mowing, and we are not allowed to put in any trails,” said Dr. Tift.

The Minnehaha Water District regularly brings people out to see the new site because they are so happy with how it turned out. “I am really proud to bring people out on the track to look at the wetlands with the birds flying and wild flowers growing,” said Dr. Tift.

BSM’s property used to be entirely wetlands; it was filled in with thousands of tons of concrete in order to construct the original fields during the 1960s. “A truck crushed up the [dug up] concrete to be reused on the paths around the fields, the foundation for the stadium entryway and seating, and it was also used in the new parking lot,” said Dr. Tift.

BSM reused 4,476 tons of concrete on site which would have taken 600 trucks to haul to the landfill. “For the left over concrete that was not used on site we paid for it to be used on a different site so that it would not go into a landfill,” said Dr. Tift.