UltraBaseSystems® In Action

Academy Prep Field

With supervision provided by the UBS staff and the enthusiasm of a handful of hardworking kids from Academy Prep Center in Tampa, FL, UltraBaseSystems® base panels proved once and for all our state-of-the-art synthetic turf base system is so easy a child can do it. Just watch and see for yourself what can be accomplished with UltraBaseSystems® in only a few days.

“Our partnership with UltraBaseSystems® provided us with a professional-quality synthetic turf athletic field from which our students at Academy Prep Center of Tampa will benefit for years to come. The selection of UltraBaseSystems® as the foundation for the field was the perfect solution for our school – the field came together quickly, without any mess or issues, and the UltraBaseSystems® team did a great job. On behalf of the students, staff and board of Academy Prep Center of Tampa, thank you.”

– Paul Whiting Sr.
President, Academy Prep Center of Tampa Board of Trustees
President, Seabreeze Holdings

This 15,000 sq ft school play yard is in desperate need of a makeover. The dream of the many dedicated volunteers, teachers, and generous supporters was to provide these deserving students a safe and great play field that would last for years to come.

A local contractor made quick work of removing the existing sod and weeds.

While part of the team was busy with preliminary ground prep, the 53-foot truck arrived with everything we needed to build the school’s ”Field of Dreams.”

In just 45 minutes the truck was unloaded, and panels and turf are staged around the area, ready for installation.

Two front end loaders and two dump trucks are on site to prepare the Florida soil for panel installation.

A few small areas needed minimal fill material to prepare the ground properly. The sandy Florida base is perfect for a direct installation over the existing soil. This is what we refer to as a retrofit.

The entire area is rolled repeatedly to achieve proper compaction.

A crew of three and an eight hour day made easy work of removing the unwanted grass in preparation for UltraBaseSystems® panels.

A 4.5 oz permeable geotextile fabric is laid over the area and secured with landscape spikes.

The young group of students ranging from 5th grade to high school enthusiastically begin to lay out the panels in rows.

The first row of panels have been cut on the table saw back in the shop to remove the teeth and create a solid exterior face for the outer perimeter. The panels are spaced along the starting area with wood stakes to maintain a 1-inch gap between the panels and the concrete basketball court. This gap is necessary to allow for expansion of the outer row of panels.

UBS team members slide the panels in place making quick work of building the first few starting rows. It is important for the first rows to start off square as this will dictate the layout of the area. As in all building procedures it is very important to have a good foundation to build upon, so make sure the first rows are perfect. The day was hot and so were the panels, so no intentional gaps were created. However, some gaps always occur during installation and that is okay. Just keep it to a minimum, but don’t force the panels together. The panels will settle in with just a few hot/cool cycles.

In just one half hour the base construction is well under way.

Our young volunteers worked tirelessly to make their new play field a reality.

Once the first section of panels are in place, the turf installation crew is ready to position the first roll of the 1.5-inch slit film polypropylene turf.

The turf rolls out easily on the panels.

Once rolled out, the turf is trimmed and positioned, held firmly in place with the patented UBS turf barb system.

As more and more panels are assembled, no time is wasted in getting the next rolls of turf in place in preparation of seaming.


Former Tampa Bay Bucs defensive star and Green Bay Packers Super Bowl Champ, Santana Dotson, stops by to wish the kids well and check out the new field installation.

The final area of panels is installed. This 15,000 sq ft area is transformed from a dirt lot to a state-of-the-art base structure for synthetic grass in just 5 hours.

That’s right. 5 hours. Thanks, kids!

Impermeable seem tape is laid out and temporarily secured in place on either end, as seam glue is carefully spread on the tape being careful to get no glue on the panels, which could cause the turf to stick to the UBS base.

The turf is carefully seamed together to achieve a neat seam with no gaps between the turf panels.

The turf is rolled with a heavy seam roller and the glue is allowed to dry. This process is repeated on all seven seams.

As seam work is taking place, the panels are being trimmed around the walkways and any other existing structure or area, being careful to leave a uniformed gap of no less than ¾ inch.

Any small pieces of panels are secured to larger pieces using the UBS self-tapping screws and washers.

The last roll of turf is rolled out and moved into position.

Excess turf is trimmed and will be finished off later.

One end of the field is secured to panels using the ½-inch wide x 1-inch long 18 gauge stainless steel staples. The panels act as the nailer so say goodbye to installed nailer boards.

Once the area is seamed and glue is dry, the area is ready for infill. The 4,000 lb bags of athletic grade sand are emptied into the spreader.

The infill process begins with depositing an even layer of sand at a rate of one pound per square foot.

The infilling of the sand continues until the first layer is evenly deposited into the field.

The sand is broomed into the turf by dragging the mounted fixed broom around the field until the sand settles in.

The process continues with the depositing of the rubber into the turf.

Once an even layer is in place, the rubber is broomed in and the turf is scarified at the same time in an effort to drive the rubber into the turf by forcing the turf fibers to stand erect making room for the infill.

The infill process continues until the desired infill amount is achieved.

All outside edges of turf are tucked and secured with staples making neat work of all transition edges.

Clean lines are achieved on all edges.

All corners and edges are filled by hand to ensure proper coverage.

The job site is cleaned off and excess material blown back into the turf.

A course rubber mat is pulled around the entire area until the rubber is evenly dispersed.

A finishing touch of white stone and brick pavers makes for a great finished edge around the turf.

In less than a week, this heavily used and abused school yard play area is converted into a professional quality synthetic turf play field with very little mess or vehicle traffic to disrupt the important work going on at this model school. The experience is one that we will remember for years to come and are confident those students who helped to make it happen will take pride in their accomplishment long after graduation from the Academy Prep Center.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – August 24, 2011

First day of school brings an enthusiastic response from teachers and students.