Monarchs’ home opener will be on the road

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Pictured above is the progress on Marysville’s high school football field renovation project, including the installation of an artificial turf playing surface. The goal posts are made to swivel. Delays in the construction mean the Monarchs will play their first two home games at alternative locations.

(Journal-Tribune photo by Kevin Behrens)

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After decades of competing on natural grass, the Marysville varsity football team will open the 2019 campaign with a pair of home games on artificial turf – played in adjoining counties.

An email to local families Thursday confirmed what many in the district had predicted – that construction on Marysville’s new football stadium will not be completed in time for the start of the grid season, forcing the first two games of the season to be played at alternative sites.

The contest against Northland on Aug. 30 will be held at Olentangy High School, 675 Lewis Center Road. The Sept. 6 contest against Delaware Hayes will be held at Hilliard Bradley, 2800 Walker Road. Game times at both venues, which feature artificial turf fields, is 7 p.m.

The third and fourth contests of the season, against Findlay and Grove City, are both scheduled to be away games before the Monarchs return home to host Big Walnut on Sept. 27.

According to the email, officials are optimistic that Big Walnut game can be played at the new stadium. The letter indicates the district believes it will be able to begin hosting events in mid September under a temporary occupancy permit, meaning the project is not complete but construction has progressed to a point where it is safe to hold games.

“Cooperative weather will continue to be paramount to the progression and timelines,” the email reads.

Officials sacrificed the spring track season and high school graduation in an effort to have the work completed by football season, but the project has been cursed by bad luck since the bidding process began in the fall of 2018. Bids came in above estimates in November, forcing adjustments to the timeline. An exceptionally wet spring hindered construction further. The letter also introduced two new problems that have delayed the project.

“We have been cautiously optimistic for our football season opener on August 30th,” the letter reads. “However, due to construction problems causing damage to the main electrical transformer and complications with the home bleachers, the first two home games will be played at alternative sites.”

The soccer team will still be able to host home contests in its existing separate stadium.

The letter states that the overall completion date for the project, which includes the football stadium and adjoining track facility is on track for Nov. 1.

“We fully understand that the completion of these projects are important to our students, coaches, fans, and community,” the letter states. “We are working daily with the construction crews with a sense of urgency for completion, balanced with the importance of having the work done right.”

The project also includes construction of a turf football field at Bunsold Middle School which is also behind schedule. The middle school football field itself is in place, but a track surface at the site still needs time to cure before the facility can be used. the listed completion date for that project is Sept. 12. The letter indicates that middle school games impacted by the delay have been moved to alternative locations.

“We appreciate your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we work to finalize these projects and the good news is we are closing in on final completion,” the email reads.



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