By Julie McCay Turner
In the curve of Hartwell Road across from Hanscom Field, a great bubble is about to rise to cover the newly-installed turf field at The Edge Sports Center.
Build it and they will come? Indeed, Bedford has its own field of dreams in The Edge’s facilities for indoor and outdoor soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. As a bonus there are also two ice hockey rinks, an athletic conditioning facility, a sports medicine center and space for sports-related community activities like preparations for Bedford’s Pan-Mass Challenge Kids ride and birthday parties.
Begun seven years ago as a partnership between attorney Brian DeVellis and hockey luminary Scott Fusco, The Edge has served thousands of athletes enrolled in its hockey, soccer and lacrosse programs. The center’s mission “To provide the community the opportunity to participate in and take advantage of a year-round athletic facility that provides state-of-the-art recreational amenities f or all ages and abilities” is being met every day.
DeVellis brought his skills as an attorney and entrepreneur, plus a long-standing connection to Bedford: he grew up here, and his father, Sal DeVellis, was a long-time member of Bedford’s Planning Board. Fusco contributed his connections in the worlds of amateur and professional hockey. According to Wikipedia, Fusco is “a retired ice hockey player, who attended the Belmont Hill School. He won the Hobey Baker Award in 1986 while playing for Harvard. He was also a member of the American 1984 Winter Olympics ice hockey team. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002 and is currently assistant coach of the Irish national hockey team.” And according to one local parent, DeVellis is “the father of lacrosse in Bedford,” based on his years of coaching the sport for the town.
Once begun, The Edge opened within a year, an expeditious accomplishment for a project of its size.
The Edge’s first application to the Zoning Board of Appeals was made on December 20, 2006, and was approved on January 25, 2007, with its ground breaking ceremony on May 1 of that year. Construction began on June 1, with a certificate of occupancy issued on October 23.The first hockey puck was dropped on November 3, 2007; the first soccer kickoff took place on November 24, with the first lacrosse face-off the next day.
The Edge’s original building was home to a full-sized ice hockey rink and a turf field striped for indoor soccer and lacrosse. The current indoor complex now hosts two full-sized ice hockey rinks (one is home ice for the Bedford High School hockey program) and a turf field devoted to athletic conditioning.
Soon the first in a pair of 330×200 foot artificial turf fields that gleam in the curve along Hartwell Road will be ready for play. It will be lighted in the summer and under a bubble during the winter. The second field is under construction and expected to be completed in spring 2013.
Environmental impact and solar gain
An immense array of photovoltaic cells adorns the roof of The Edge’s original building. New Hampshire-based Revolution Energy (http://www.rev-en.com), which DeVellis represents, has installed the cells under a power purchase agreement that affords The Edge the opportunity to purchase power at reduced cost for the next 20years. The panels are rated at 485 kilowatts (kW), enough to supply half of The Edge’s electrical power needs, while reducing its environmental footprint. Indeed, DeVellis said that one day last summer The Edge returned power back to the grid.
In a press release announcing the installation, DeVellis said, “We see this project as a win for everyone at The Edge. The athletes that use our facility will be playing in an arena that understands the need for a more sustainable way to continue providing the high quality sports programs we have become known for.”
Each week and after rainstorms Mary Trudeau, an independent wetlands consultant under contract to the Edge, visits the facility to monitor the environmental impact of the drainage from the artificial turf field. It must comply with both Bedford’s local conservation bylaws and The Edge’s NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. She “monitor[s] water quality and work[s] with the [turf] contractor to control the path of storm water run-off. The goal is to capture and contain discharges…ideally keeping storm water on site until it has time for sediment loads to settle.” Using a variety of techniques on the site, including temporary impoundments, check dams, vegetated filter strips and geotextile fabrics, Trudeau evaluates the site pre- and post-rain event, and works with the contractor to develop a strategy for the evolving site conditions.” It is always a work in progress, as site conditions often change daily,” she said.
The Edge’s Ice Hockey Program
The East Coast Wizards (ECW) offers coed hockey development teams for youth born between 2005 and 2007; a boys’ league with U[nder age]14, U16 and U19 teams; and a girls’ league with U8, U10, U14, U16 and U19 teams.ECW coaches include Paul Kennedy, Head Coach at Cushing Academy; former LA Kings defenseman Bobby Jay; and Bedford’s own Mike McGrath.
Skaters from Groton to Gloucester come to The Edge, drawn by its strong coaching program.
The Bedford High School hockey team calls The Edge’s upper rink its home ice, with a dedicated locker room that saves hauling heavy hockey gear to every practice. Additionally, two ice hockey teams from Lexington and three from Concord are based at The Edge.
In addition to its ECW hockey program, the Edge also offers summer skating, public hockey, clinics and private lessons; winter vacation and specialty camps; conditioning; mid-week development programs; and a women’s skills program. There is also a figure skating program that offers skating camps, free style coaching, Theatre on Ice, and public skating.
Coming in Part 2–Athletic Conditioning, Field Sports and Giving Back