New field turf planned for Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium

11 January 2017

The football field at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium will be getting a makeover.The New Philadelphia Board of Education approved Tuesday for the district to begin the process of replacing the field turf at the stadium, which has outlasted its 10-year life expectancy. The project is estimated to cost $378,000, according to Treasurer Julie Erwin.

This will be the second time new field turf gets installed at the stadium. The current turf was put into place in 2006 at a cost of $653,000.

Athletic Director Ed Leggett said with the field in its 11th year, "it's showing the wear and it's time to replace it."The field is used for football games and practices, soccer matches, band competitions and playoff events, as well as middle school and junior varsity sporting events.

Superintendent David Brand said credit for the current turf lasting 11 years goes to maintenance crews and coaches, as well as community members."The community does use the track a lot," he said. "They truly do respect and take care of that facility."

Additionally, costs for preventive maintenance to the field turf has been supported by the Quaker Club and the Quaker Ladies."That's why we extended past the project and estimated lifespan of it," Brand said.

Even with wear, the field is still safe to play on. Leggett said the artificial turf regularly undergoes "g-max" testing, which tests the material's impact and shock absorption.

"Concussions are a big concern these days, as well it should be," said Leggett. "We have constantly passed the g-max text, but the truth of the matter is we're getting to the point where we need to replace (the turf). I don't think people realize how much we use it."

Board member Dave Frantz said the project's estimated cost may seem "like an awful lot ... but the reality is, it's cheaper than maintaining a grass field."The new field turf is expected to start being installed in June and take three to four weeks, making the surface playable for fall sports practices and camps.

Funds to cover the cost of new material are ready to be used. Eleven years ago when artificial turf replaced the natural-grass surface, a fund was created to pay for installing new turf. Facility-use fees from tournaments and playoff games are held at the stadium are placed into the fund, Leggett said.

The company the district intends to have install the new turf is FieldTurf, which was the same company that installed the original turf in 2006. Erwin said Tuesday that she will check with legal counsel if the bidding process can be waived and the project go FieldTurf. Once that step is completed, the board will give its final approval on moving the project forward.

The district's Facilities Committee is handling the details of the project, including the field's design."Design has not been decided yet," Leggett said. "We don't have to determine that for a couple of months."

However, that doesn't mean there aren't any suggestions or ideas already being considered. The Facilities Committee will ultimately decide on the design and colors while incorporating suggestions they receive.

Leggett said one aspect he never thought about occurred to him at a recent basketball game when someone asked if the district's current "NP" logo will appear on the field. If the current logo is included in the new turf, what happens if its design changes in the coming years and an outdated emblem is at the center of the field?

"I hadn't thought of that, and that's definitely something the committee will have to talk about," Leggett said. "Everybody has their opinion on what it should look like. It's going to be interesting to see what the end product is going to be."