New Britain Stadium designer chosen for Derby football/track job

March 10, 2017 GMT

DERBY-A pitch from the New Britain firm that designed the minor league stadium that housed the Rock Cats and now the Bees in their city struck a homerun with the city’s Athletic Complex Building Committee during their March 8 meeting.

“I think everyone was impressed with their experience, past projects and their understanding of the scope of our project,” said Keith McLiverty, the city’s treasurer who chairs the committee.

So Kaestle Boos Associates Inc. of New Britain was picked over Milone & MacBroom, Inc. of Cheshire and the BSC Group of Glastonbury to serve as project manager for the redesign and construction of an artificial football field and running track at the Leo F. Ryan Sports Complex. The State Bonding Commission authorized $2.9 million in funding for the project.


McLiverty said the next step is to further vet Kaestle Boos Associates Inc. of New Britain and have the city’s legal department draft a contract.

“That could probably happen Monday,” McLiverty said.

In addition to New Britain Stadium Kaestle Boos reconstructed and renovated the Naugatuck High School athletic complex; Greenwich Academy’s athletic field: John F. Kennedy High School athletic complex in Waterbury; New Canaan High School’s Dunning Stadium and track and synthetic turf renovations at Canterbury School in New Milford.

They were approved by a 9-2 vote.

“What impressed me most was Luke McCoy’s presentation,” said Peter Olenoski, Jr. , a committee member, third ward alderman and longtime Little League coach. “He knows his stuff. I liked that he sits on the Synthetic Turf Council and has experience through his European contacts with the type of turf they use. Europe is five years ahead of us in that area.”

Committee members also were impressed with the number of tests Kaestle Boos would conduct on the field once it’s installed to determine ball movement, shock absorption and slide resistance, all of which play a role in injuries.

McCoy,a landscape architect and associate at Kaestle Boos, formerly worked at BSC Group which was competing for the contract. He and Brian Solywoda handled their company’s proposal during the four hour committee meeting.

“Our first step will be to sit down with the committee and defined their needs and desires,” McCoy said. “We”ll set an agenda for what we want to discuss and accomplish during that first meeting.


The artificial turf project is one of two which will take place almost simultaneously at the Leo F. Ryan Complex.

In addition to the $2.9 million from the state, Joan Payden, the founder and head of Payden and Rydel, an international investment firm based in Los Angeles, donated more than $2 million to the city. She stipulated it be used to relocate the high school’s baseball field and build a state-of-the-art clubhouse which will serve also as a sports museum and community meeting place.

Payden’s father John was born in Derby and attended its high school where he played baseball and served as the 1915 valedictorian. He interrupted his studies at Yale University to enlist in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Aviation Division when World War I broke out. Wanting to fly but unable to do so because the U.S. had no Air Force, Payden went to England where he flew missions as a fighter pilot for the Royal Flying Corps. Upon returning home he graduated from Yale University’s Sheffield Scientific School of Engineering , joined Union Carbide and later became the chief executive officer of Union Carbide Java Ltd. in Indonesia.

Current plans call for the High School baseball field to be relocated and rebuilt on the softball field and the softball field to be relocated near or on the football field.

Those determinations will be made by Peter de Bretteville, a Hamden architect Payden chose to handle and oversee her projects.

“He’ll be conducting the architectural survey for both sites to determine where everything would fit and what we can do,” said Matthew Conway, the city’s superintendent of schools.

Once that’s done the next steps will be to get approval from the Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetlands Commissions. That could take a few months. Then bids for the type of turf, infill and padding will be solicited.

Conway said he doesn’t anticipate football being played on the field this fall.