Friday, 13 September 2013

Lyons View Pike Project Update

September 13, 2013 UPDATE - KUB’s contractor, Charles Blalock & Sons, and their subcontractor, Pipeline Construction, have completed installation of all natural gas, water, and wastewater pipes and related equipment along the 1.5 mile Lyons View Pike construction zone and adjacent areas nearly two months ahead of schedule.

With utility upgrades completed, the work zone has now been turned over to the City of Knoxville for roadway resurfacing work. The City’s paving contractor is scheduled to begin milling, final paving, and striping work along Lyons View Pike on Monday, September 16. The roadway reopening date will be determined by completion of the City’s paving work.

Lyons View Pike remains closed to through traffic between Lakeshore Park on the west end and Colony Way on the east end. Harley Drive remains barricaded at the Lyons View Pike intersection for the duration of this project.

Due to changing roadway surface conditions, and the ongoing presence of large trucks and heavy equipment, motorists should continue to proceed with caution when traveling anywhere within the area.

Course/Construction Update- September 13

I'm hoping that you made out better than the golf course with last night's storm.  As you can see above we had a direct hit on the two trees at the corner of the 3rd hole.  As with anything that is associated with lightning losing bark only touches the surface of what occurred...

The hole next to the berm is where a sprinkler, or what remains of a sprinkler, was located.  Lightning moved down the tree into the roots and into the wire connected to the sprinkler.  From there it went into the irrigation controller, to the power source, and blew out a line conditioner (keeps the power "clean" when it moves from the pole to the irrigation controllers.)  Closest replacement is in New Jersey (after that Alabama) and I hope to have it installed by Tuesday at the latest.

The guys are out fixing bunkers.  We can't wait to start the bunkers project.

Speaking of the course construction...the first part of the work began on Wednesday.  The club's arborist came out and removed 6 trees to the right of the green.  I think what remains looks fantastic, allows us to add some topsoil and sod, and if you hit a fade (or slice) you will find yourself in some nice thick grass.  Please note that the removals don't make the second shot, especially from the right, any easier and I'm hoping that once Bruce begins his work he will find it a perfect spot for a good size bunker.

That's it for now.  Frontier will be arriving some time on Monday with work commencing on holes 4 and 5 starting Tuesday.  The club's arborist will be out next week as well to remove some trees to the right of the 4th green as well.  Please make sure to check my Twitter account for daily updates.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Oh, Elm-o-o-o-o-o-ore! When will you re-open?

Sunshine, Sat+Sun+Mon.
The secret to that puzzle is the weather. As we have posted here earlier, our very wet August and September slowed down road construction projects, not just for UAA, but for the whole city.

On the bright side, take a look at the weather forecast for the next few days. If we are in for some good dry weather, as it appears we are, then much progress will be made.

A check with UAA Facilities indicates that the news is promising. The Elmore Road roundabout construction team has  poured the last bit of concrete today, and must pave the sidewalks in the area. If the weather cooperates, the odds are looking good that work could be complete by Sunday. We aren't promising that, but we have fingers and toes crossed that the sun will stick with us for a few days and let this work proceed quickly.

In other news, in an effort to utilize some of the very unused parking on campus, the UAA Alumni Association offered to host free coffee and morning treats for three mornings in the Fine Arts parking lot,
which remains half-empty most days while drivers circle certain other lots in great frustration. The
Espresso and muffins, free for three mornings.
idea was to invite students to consider driving directly to a space they know they can get, and take advantage of the Seawolf Shuttle that stops in front of the Fine Arts Building before heading west to other campus locations. Or just hoof it to class; a little walk in the fresh air is better than driving in circles and getting frustrated, and maybe late for class.

You might call it a social re-engineering experiement. If we serve espresso, they will come. And some did. A Facilities worker who has been monitoring parking all over campus as adjustments get made, commented that the lot was at 70 percent capacity on the first day of the breakfast treats, up from a high of about 50 percent usage previously. (Always spaces available, all day long....) That is good news, but lots of spots are still going vacant all day in this lot. The lot looks to be utilized at 60-65 percent on a regular basis.

Day Loop Route can get you from Arts to West Campus.
Something that might help is understanding the Seawolf Shuttle schedule, and the fact that it leaves here headed west to other campus locations. Here is the route map. Note that on it heads west into campus on its westbound route and you can hop it rather than walk. During peak times, a third bus is added to the day loop to help with frequency. Here is a link to the Day Loop schedule (PDF) and a larger version of the map you see at right.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Construction Update-Timeline

As I have said in previous posts and in the newsletter I will be using this blog to post information on the golf course construction project.  We had a pre-construction meeting yesterday that was attended by the club's architect Bruce Hepner, Pete Horrell from Frontier Golf, Dan Rao who was representing the club's Oversight Committee, and my Assistant Brian Daigneau.  During the meeting we discussed the timeline, methods and materials needed for the job, member/worker safety, and how they would move across the golf course.  What follows is an overview of what we came up with.

  • Construction will be done on the course in phases.  Phase 1 will begin on holes 4 and 5 and work towards the top of the hill on 7.  Phase 2 will include work on the wet holes (18, 17, 13, 16).  Phase 3 and 4 will be weather dependent but will either be completing work on the back nine or front nine.  The last two bunkers to be completed will be the at the chipping green.
  • As you know we are on a tight schedule and it is important that we keep the work (and workers) moving.  These guys have worked at a lot of clubs and know how to move around play but we must make sure that they are given the right of way when on the course.  We certainly do not want anyone to get hurt over the course of the project.
  • The plan is to use temporary greens when they are working on greenside bunkers and temporary tees (making the hole a par 3) when they are working on fairway bunkers.  Any bunker where they have begun work (removing old sod and sand) thru sodding will be ground under repair.  Once sod is placed on the newly constructed bunker there is to be no play or foot traffic on the sod until you are notified that it is back in play.  
  • Frontier is planning on working 6 days each week and Bruce will be on-site 4 days each week shaping.  Bruce is planning on holding a Q&A session once work commences so that members can ask about the progress and any other questions you may have.  Please understand that his time is limited on the course and we ask that you hold all questions for the Q&A and not when he is operating machinery.
  • Frontier will have a crew working in front of Bruce removing the old sand, sod, and irrigation.  Bruce follows with the shaping (he anticipates being able to complete two bunkers each day) of the bunker and surrounds.  Frontier then has a crew that follows Bruce installing drainage, irrigation, sand, and sod.
  • Updates on the construction and changes in how the course is set up will be thru my Twitter account and information will also be provided at the pro shop.
Frontier will arrive on the property on September 16th to set up their equipment and get aquatinted with the golf course.  They will begin work removing sand, sod, and irrigation on September 17th on holes 4 and 5.  It is very important that they begin this work before Bruce comes so that he can start shaping on September 23.  

The course is busy with outings on both Monday and Tuesday so we have tentatively scheduled some tree removal work for next Wednesday and Thursday starting on the 4th hole and then moving to the 2nd hole.  The club's arborist will be using a crane for this work so I ask that you use caution if you are playing near where the work is being completed. 

I know this is a lot of information to take in and I appreciate your patience as we are moving along during construction.  Please remember that we have been tasked with completing this work by the first snowfall so that when you get back to the club in 2014 there are no further disruptions on the course. 

If you haven't done so already follow me on Twitter so that you can receive updates and photos of the work in progress.  Feel free to contact me at the club by email at  This is a very exciting time at the club and I hope you enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Lyons View Pike Project Update

September 5, 2013 UPDATE - With utility related work in Lyons View Pike nearing completion, the City of Knoxville's paving contractor is scheduled to perform milling, paving, and striping of the roadway beginning the week of September 16. Prior to that, KUB's contractor will be making final tie-ins of the force mains and completing final "punch-list" items at various locations throughout the length of the project. In addition, Lyons Pointe Lane and areas adjacent to its intersection with Lyons View Pike will be paved by KUB's contractor and all remaining vegetation management work will be completed. Due to the rapidly changing nature and location of the work needed to close out construction and prepare for final paving, motorists should continue to use caution when traveling anywhere within the project area.

Weather permitting, it's expected the City's contractor will complete the resurfacing work and the roadway will re-open to through traffic sometime the week of September 23.

The Construction Progress Map for Zone 7 remains unchanged. Lyons View Pike remains closed to through traffic between Lakeshore Park on the west end and Colony Way on the east end. Harley Drive remains barricaded at the Lyons View Pike intersection for the duration of this project.

View Current Construction Progress Map.

Pipeline Construction installing 8" polyethylene sewer force main adjacent to Lakeshore Park

Preparing to thermally fuse 6" sewer force main

Fusing 6" sewer force main

Tree pruning underway along overhead electric circuit

Re-sodding staging area in Lakeshore Park

Construction Update-Sod

I made a trip yesterday to find sod for the project.  You might think that all grass is the same and what's the big deal?  Well sod is like frosting on a cake and as we all know it can be the difference between a good dessert and a great dessert.  

The sod I was looking for was an 80/20 mix of bluegrass and fescue.  This is a common blend for bunkers and adapts well to a variety of locations.  The fescue can dominate bunker faces, which tend to have sand build up over time and dry out quickly.  The bluegrass offers a dense stand and has a high tolerance to cold temperatures.  Put together and they segregate out to growing environments that suit their specific needs.  This mix also works well with Bruce's design plan and look he is trying to achieve and I believe the finished product will really shine.

Without a doubt some of the best sod producers are located in Kingston, RI.  The soil is great for production, rich in nutrients and drains well.  The following photos were taken at Tartan Farms after they received over 5" of rain.  Dave Wallace, the owner of the farm, has been growing sod since I was a kid and I feel is the best in the area.  He produces general use sods (greens, tees, fairway, rough) and also will contract produce for clubs that have a specific grass they are looking for (he just finished a contract sod job for Vineyard Golf Club).
Dave walking across one of his fields.
Recently seeded area with fairway bentgrass.
Greens quality sod. They are expecting this to be sold out by the end of next week.
So what do you look for when it comes to sod?  Uniform color and free of weeds, the sod should be thick and dense without a lot of thatch.  The sod should be about 1 year old (less thatch) and be able to withstand handling by both the harvester and installer.  As you can see from the photos below even a few weeks can make a huge difference.

"Young" 11 month old Blue / Fescue sod. The thinner grass is the fescue and with some fertilizer the bluegrass will again drive thru the canopy and fill any voids.

This sod is a little over a year old.
The second photo is the sod that was selected for the project.  It has excellent color and density and the thatch is thick enough to handle the harvesting procedure and handling when placing the sod on the bunker surrounds.  This sod is also grown on a topsoil that is very similar to what we will be using around the bunkers and this will also help in the transition from the field to the golf course.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Wet weather delays Elmore re-opening; more parking coming online in South Lot Sept. 10

Elmore closure extended into the week

The Elmore closure, which was originally scheduled to finish on Monday, Sept. 2, is being extended into this week. The completion date is dependent on weather and availability of paving crews. The rainy weather has delayed paving projects across the city.

South Lot parking status; adding 60 more spaces by Sept. 10

The temporary staging yard for the new engineering building, across Providence at the SE corner of Lake Otis and 36th, is expected to be complete and ready for use on Monday, Sept. 9. This will allow the engineering building contractor, Neeser Construction, to relocate some of their equipment from South Lot to the temporary yard—and free up more parking in South Lot.

The fence around the building site will be pulled in, returning an additional row of parking, by the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 10 (maybe as soon as late in the day on the Sept. 9).

North Lot parking status

Facilities Maintenance & Operations will begin to move the remainder of their equipment out of North Lot on Tuesday, Sept. 10; it will take several days but this will free up more parking spaces.