Joe Montana Stadium gets new turf field

10 July 2018

The Ringgold School District is rolling out the carpet for new Rams football coach Mike Zmijanac.

But this carpet isn’t red.

It’s rather alternating shades of green with blue endzones and Vegas gold lettering as new turf is being installed at Joe Montana Stadium.

Crews from TPK, Inc. of Allison Park are approximately one week away from completing the AstroTurf project, only five weeks from the start of football camp.

“We are tremendously excited to see the final product,” said Ringgold athletic director Laura Grimm. “We were really eager to modernize our turf.”

But unlike other local high schools and colleges that have been forced to make the investment on new surfaces because of flooding, Ringgold’s timeline – Grimm was hoping the synthetic turf installed in 2008 could last another year – was expedited after its annual GMAX impact testing in the spring showed areas of concern.

The testing measures the shock-attenuation performance of sports surfaces to evaluate the safeness. It measures the amount of impact absorbed by the turf during a fall and compares it to a standard. If the requirement isn’t met, the field is considered unsafe and remediation is needed.

“We definitely knew it was coming down the pike and would be a project in the near future,” Grimm said. “When they did the testing there were several areas on the field that didn’t pass the threshold. It’s a pass/fail. We talked with our district solicitor and knew we would be liable for certain injuries that could occur on the field knowing the condition and not doing anything about it. It wouldn’t have been a prudent course of action to have our athletes practice or play on it.”

Work immediately began on the field following the district’s graduation ceremony in early June. The work in the coming days will be finalizing the painting along with the sand and rubber infill that needs spread into the surface. The infill helps the synthetic grass fibers to not mat down and provides additional cushion to the surface.

The approximate cost of the project is $380,000.

“You see all sorts of crazy designs nowadays,” Grimm said. “Belle Vernon has its gold turf. You always hear about Boise State’s blue turf. We are really capturing the navy and Vegas gold. The alternating shades of green just adds another dimension.”

Zmijanac, who won six WPIAL and one PIAA championship at Aliquippa begins his first season at Ringgold this fall. The Rams’ first home game will be Sept. 7 against Indiana.