Turning to turf

Starting next week, MCHS add turf to McCraken Field for coming seasons, a move that will allow more sports to compete at the stadium


Allie Everhart

Starting early this summer, McCracken’s grass football field will be replaced with turf to help with drainage. Improvements will also allow other teams to compete on the field.

Mackenzie Sroka, Sports Editor

 A soccer player packs their bag to bring to school the night before the first game, thrilled with anticipation of playing. However it rained the day before, during a rainy spring, and it is a home game, so the chances of the game getting canceled are high due to field conditions. 

A turf field is artificial grass that does not grow and is easily maintained. With proper drainage, a turf field can be played in almost all weather conditions. 

This is part of the reason that MCHS will be putting in a turf field for next year’s seasons, a large investment that the school is making for the athletic department. 

“The turf itself cost about $500,000,” said Barry Burmeister, MCHS’s athletic director,  with the new track and the new drainage, along with moving all of the Field events and new fencing, the cost is just under $2 million.”  The funds are part of the facilities improvement budget.”

While the cost may seem high, the athletic department and others worked to determine what should be kept or replaced in order to keep costs down.

“We are doing this as cost efficient as possible, so we are trying to use as many materials that are already there and as many existing structures that are already there,” explained Burmeister.

Even though there will be an effort to keep as much as possible, there will be a lot of replacements and upgrades to McCracken Field. 

“We will have a company come in and they will demolition the entire field,” described Burmeister. “This includes getting new scoreboards, play clocks. There are a lot of moving parts that go into this.”. 

In order to determine what will be replaced, drainage, features, and other necessary parts to the McCraken upgrade, MCHS brought in a team to put together a plan. 

“There has been plenty of meetings we have had with the architects, civil engineers, and everyone else to figure out all the drainage, then they met with the city,” explained Burmeister. “We had to pick out everything, come up with a design for everything, and know where to put things and where to not put things.”

Despite all the planning and preparations going into re-doing the field and others, they will be able to start construction soon. 

“May 24 is when construction starts because graduation is May 23, so then we are starting the next day,” described Joel Beard, who will take on athletic director duties next year. 

Even though construction will be begin later this month, there is a chance that construction will go into the beginning of the football season. 

“Mr. Burmeiser has talked with Prairie Ridge already, theres a possibility that the first game is at Prairie Ridge instead of being at home,” explained Beard. 

On the turf field, not only will there be football lines, but there will also be a couple other sports that can utilize the field. 

“We will have a whole new turf, which will host football, soccer, and lacrosse. Then we are also redoing the track, so that is four difference sports that will have a surface to be the best of the best line,” described Beard. 

With multiple sports utilizing the field and new track, the coaches and athletic director will have to determine who can use the field when.

“One can practice late,” explained Beard, “the other can practice early and switch off and on, if that is the only facility we have with weather that could be the best situation we have. So once the schedule is made then we can look at moving it off the same. If it works out where they can play the same day, they one can maybe play at 4:30 and the other plays at 7 because we do have lights over there so that is a possibility as well.”

Many of these sports can and will benefit from having turf. For example unlike their previous grass field, the field it will not flood as easily. 

“Turf would benefit the lacrosse team due to the fact that we don’t currently have a full field to practice on and can’t scrimmage as if we we’re playing a real game,” described Kennedy O’Brien, a junior lacrosse captain. “It would also help us with having less games canceled due to field conditions and mud.”

Since they are redoing the drainage system of the field to prevent having similar drainage issues as current fields, they are also planning on eventually planning on implementing other fields with better drainage systems. 

“They are putting in drainage and a retaining pond, the track itself will be redone, the shotput and discus will be redone. The drainage is set up for the idea of putting in a softball and baseball field over there,” explained Burmeister. 

The new turf field being implemented on to MCHS will benefit teams in many different aspects, even though there is a lot of planning involved and a high cost.