A worker rolls the football/soccer field at Jonathan Alder High School’s Volunteer Field in search for soft spots earlier this week. Artificial turf will be placed on the field early next month in time for the 2019 high school gridiron and soccer seasons.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
Although the rainy weather that has plagued the area has had a huge impact on farmers putting crops in the field and several construction projects, there is one renovation that hasn’t suffered very much.
“The rain really hasn’t delayed our timeline,” said Rayce Robinson, who is a member of a committee that is overseeing the installation of artificial turf at Jonathan Alder High School’s football/soccer field.
“We waited to begin the project for a time after we had some heavy rain in the area,” he said. “The ensuing weather hasn’t been much of a problem.”
The project began in the early part of June with the removal of the grass field.
Workers were proof-rolling the area earlier this week, making sure there were no soft spots in the ground.
Once that portion of the project is finished, stone will be placed down on the field and concrete curbing will be installed.
Electrical services and water will be run to both sidelines, providing for the usage of coaches’ headsets and water stations during gridiron games.
Robinson said that, barring any additional long stretch of inclement weather, workers should be ready to start rolling out the 76,000 square feet of turf on July 8, with the field ready for use by very early in August.
That’s just what head football coach Brett Glass wanted to hear.
“The project seems to be moving along quite well despite some rough weather,” said Glass.” I think they are pretty much on schedule and nobody is panicking.
“I’m confident the field will be ready by the first of August,” said the coach. “Besides, our first home game isn’t until the second week of the season (Friday, Sept. 6) against Marion Harding.
The project, which will also include a new scoreboard, carries a price tag of more than $500,0000.
The project has been funded by money raised through donations from businesses or individuals.
Memorial Health has donated $50,000 for the new scoreboard, according to Robinson.
The new turf will be a benefit not only to the high school football and boys and girls soccer teams, but the entire community, said Robinson.
“For instance, the band boosters are very happy we are doing this,” he said. “They can use the field for band competitions. The band boosters have donated $6,000 for the project.”
There are plans to have the Alder middle school football and soccer teams use the high school field, along with the area’s flag football program.
The high school lacrosse team will also use the field during the spring 2020 season.
A local youth soccer league donated $50,000 toward the project as well.
“They can use the field for their season that runs from November through February,” said Robinson.
“We anticipate a lot of extra-curricular activities and community events to use the field,” he said. “We can also rent the field for high school playoff games.
“The revenue for all of those activities will help down the road (10-to-13 years) when we have to replace the turf.”
The money raised through activities held on the field will also help with the yearly maintenance of the turf.
The surface will be inspected on a yearly basis for safety factors.
It will also be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.
A turf field generally comes with an eight-year warranty.
However, the lifespan can be extended as long as safety tests are successful, Robinson said during an earlier Journal-Tribune article.
What makes Robinson the most proud is the fact that so many Jonathan Alder community members are pitching in to help with the project.
“There has been a lot of ‘blue-collar,’ in-kind work done on the field,” he said. “A local excavating company donated its time, while the concrete curbing work will be down by community volunteers.
“The people from the community are really helping, just like they did when we first put in the stadium,” said Robinson.
“The name of our football/soccer stadium – Volunteer Field – still applies.”
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