This week's AB Extra features the world's first sliding field at a new stadium in London, a high school that's getting creative in solving a rodent problem and a Texas-shaped pool that's fighting to become a historical landmark.


London Stadium to Feature World’s First Sliding Field
Populous, a London-based firm that specializes in sports architecture, has designed a new stadium for London football club Tottenham Hotspur that will have a retractable pitch, allowing for the NFL to host games at the stadium, as well. 

The soccer pitch will lie atop the football field, and the pitch will have the ability to slide back and reveal the football field. 

Another unique feature to the new stadium is its seating set-up, with one side of the stadium having a bank of 17,000 uninterrupted seats.

"The seating bowl is designed to create an intimate relationship between player and spectator," explained Populous principal Christopher Lee. "Its 17,000 capacity single tier end stand – a tribute to traditional English football grounds – will be the largest in the UK, and will be the engine that drives the intensity and atmosphere in the new Spurs stadium. It will be like no other."


High School to Get Rollerskating Speed Track as Part of Pan Am Legacy

Due to a last-minute venue change, a Scarborough, ON high school will host the roller speed skating competition for the Pan Am Games and the track will remain at the school following the Games.

The event was originally going to take place at the Pan Am Sports Centre, but will now happen at St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School, which is nearby. 

The change was made keeping the legacy of the Games in mind. The Pan Am Sports Centre, which is owned by the University of Toronto Scarborough, would not have been able to keep the track in the venue following the end of the Games and it would've been ripped up. The track will remain in the high school for use after the Games end. 

The Pan Am Sports Centre will still host the fencing, modern pentathlon, swimming, diving and synchronized swimming competitions during the Pan Am Games and the sitting volleyball and swimming competitions at the Parapan Am Games.


Barn Owls Enlisted to Combat Gophers on Athletic Fields

A California high school is taking an unorthodox approach to solve a rodent problem that has been plaguing athletic fields at the school. 

Gophers have made themselves at home underneath the baseball, football, softball and soccer fields at Coast Union High School for a number of years. There have been numerous injuries on the fields due to gopher holes and maintenance workers have made numerous attempts to displace the gophers to no avail.Now, the school is turning to barn owls to rid its facilities of the gophers. 

 “Barn owls are master rodent killers, and they decimate rodent populations, including gophers. They’re effective, they’re environmentally friendly, they’re cost effective and we’re going to see a dramatic drop in the gopher population,” said David Bidwell, who serves in the lead maintenance position for the Coastal Unified School District.

 Three owl boxes, which have a specific, owl-friendly straw inside, have been installed in the areas around the fields. 

Coaches at the school hope to see a significant drop in the number of gophers around the fields, and they should. According to Bidwell, " 


Texas-Shaped Pool Seeks Status as Historical Landmark
The board of directors for a Plano, Texas pool is working to make the pool, which is shaped like the state, a historical landmark.

The pool, aptly named "Texas Pool," was built in 1960. Janet Moos, the CEO of the Texas Pool Foundation, says that she first considered applying for historical designation after the pool almost shut down in 2008 due to a steep decline in memberships and lack of funding. The pool has since regained members but still struggles financially. 

For a site to be granted historic designation, its proponents must prove the site is at least 50 years old, maintains structural integrity and has historical significance. The board has to prove that Texas Pool is uniquely noteworthy compared to other Texas-shaped pools and that it was part of a historical trend.  

Receiving historic designation can offer a site more protection and public recognition, which can aid in a site’s preservation.

Moos is currently working with Cynthia Caton, the pool's historian, to find and compile a historical background for the pool. This has proved to be a challenge because there is no written history on the pool and there is a lack of detail about who built the pool.  


Dolphins Selling Seats Removed from Sun Life Stadium
Miami Dolphins fans will have the opportunity to purchase a seat from Sun Life Stadium. Season ticket holders will have first dibs on the seats, which were removed during construction on the stadium. The general public will then be given a chance to buy the remaining seats. 

All proceeds from the sale of the seats will go to the Miami Dolphins Foundation, which supports programs throughout South Florida in education, health and volunteerism. 

The Dolphins also announced that there will a series of autographed seat auctions that will take place throughout the year, featuring autographs from players such as Dan Marino and Ryan Tannehill. 

Additionally, the Dolphins set aside thousands of seatbacks, which will be available for purchase at the price of $20. 


Check out the AB Extra from previous weeks: 
June 26
June 19
June 12