The Field Turf boom has finally made it to Logan County.
It’s causing increased excitement as the upcoming 2015 high school football season is a little over a month away.
There will be two special and historic openers on Aug. 28 in Logan County as the high school football season is set to get under way.
Both games will be on Field Turf.
Man High School will host county rival Logan that night at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
Man’s Field Turf project was the first to be done this summer and the Hillbillies will be hosting the Wildcats in the first ever game on the new artificial surface at Man.
Down the road at Chapmanville Regional High School, the CRHS Tigers will host Sissonville on Aug. 28 in their season opener and first ever game at Tiger Stadium on Field Turf.
Logan won’t have its first home game and inaugural contest on its new Field Turf until Week 4 when the Wildcats are slated to host Point Pleasant on Sept. 18 in the annual LHS Hall of Fame game.
The Field Turf projects at Chapmanville and Logan are still going on.
The gravel has been laid down at Chapmanville’s Tiger Stadium and the turf is expected to be rolled out soon.
There’s still more work to be done at Logan, which will have its Field Turf laid down last.
Logan football coach Gary Mullins said the project at Logan Stadium is going smoothly.
“They have almost got all of the dirt off it,” Mullins said. “They’ve started to put the concrete berm around it. I’m not really sure on timetable-wise. But I know they said that it would take seven to eight weeks to complete it. It’s one of those things where we need good weather for the construction crews to do their job. The better the weather the more work that they can get done.”
Since Logan’s stadium turf probably won’t be ready for play well into August the Wildcats are looking into contingency plans as far as practice sites for its varsity team as well as other football squads in the Logan area.
The first day of football practice in West Virginia is set for Monday, Aug. 3.
Logan has traditionally used some of the baseball and softball fields behind the Logan High School building for practice but Mullins said he’s trying to figure out what to do.
“We’re trying to look at it from all angles,” Mullins said. “We can find a place to practice, but, then again, there’s the middle school team and the Midget League teams that need a place to practice. I’ve been in contact with Yogi Kinder at Mingo Central and some other people. We’re just trying to work out the best play for everybody as far as where will be the best place for everyone to practice.”
Chapmanville football coach George Barker said it will be exciting to have the Field Turf done at all three county stadiums.
“It’s a long time coming,” Barker said in an earlier interview. “I’m glad that the football teams in Logan County are going to get caught up with most of the high school world now. This seems to be more of a trend. Somebody told me that around 70 percent of our games now will be played on turf when these three fields are done.”
Man High School football coach Harvey Arms said it’s a dream come true to have turf. Man’s football complex in recent years underwent a facelift with a new home grandstand, a new football building and locker rooms and new concession stands and ticket booths.
“This is great for all of us in the county,” Arms said in an earlier interview. “Since they came up with this it’s always been a dream to get it, that someday we would have turf. It will make things so much easier and we won’t have to roll around and play and practice in the mud. We will never have a bad field situation.”
Field Turf is a major trend, not only across the country but in the state of West Virginia.
Several high schools have the carpet and more will be getting some in future years.
Up to 20 or more high schools use Field Turf across the state including: Point Pleasant, Mingo Central, Scott, Hurricane, Bluefield, Wheeling Park (Wheeling Island Stadium), Huntington, Nicholas County, Charleston’s Laidley Field (Capital High School’s home), Martinsburg, North Marion, Ripley, Bridgeport and Fairmont just to name a few.
The list grows every year and more are on the way.
Marshall and WVU also have Field Turf as do many of the in-state small colleges.
The Logan County Commission meeting held on March 16 produced an vote by the commission to enter into a financial agreement with the Logan County Board of Education in order to shoulder some of the cost of installing field turf on football fields in Logan, Chapmanville, and Man.
Turf on the field at Logan High School is estimated to cost $855,020 with Man High School running $694,073 and Chapmanville High School rounding out the three with $993,990 for a total of around $2.5 million.
“I applaud this board [LCBOE] for their decision. No one is going to benefit from this except the kids of Logan County,” Logan County Commissioner Danny Ellis said at an earlier board meeting this spring. “They’re the ones who will benefit from this, and, to me, this is an opportunity to showcase Logan County. I’m going to very proud to step up and say that Logan County has these facilities.”
Having taxpayer money pay for the Field Turf has been a hot-button issue with some residents across the county.
It’s an investment for the students, proponents have argued.
“Economically, it’s going to save money through the years with the painting of the fields and proper care and maintenance like cutting the surface. Also, soccer is becoming a big sport in Logan County and they need a place to play,” County Commissioner Danny Godby said at an earlier board meeting.
County Commissioner Willie Akers said in 10 years all three stadiums would have to be re-Turfed due to the lifespan of the artificial grass, which tends to wear down over the course of a decade or so.
“It’s going to be our job, all of us, to take care of that field. In 10 years we are going to be needing another one. We have a plan to put money back each year, and, in 10 years, we will have our share of the money ready to go,” Akers said at an earlier meeting.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).