New turf unveiled at CHS Raider Field

22 June 2017

The new artificial turf field at Cleveland High School has gathered much attention since it was completed near the beginning of June, with students, staff and Cleveland Board of Education members venturing out to Raider Field to check out the finished product.

“We’re really excited about being able to enhance our facility and continuing to make it one of the best campuses in the state of Tennessee. We feel really proud of our community and proud of our school board for really investing in our schools,” declared CHS Principal Autumn O’Bryan.

“Most people might think this is about football, and it’s not about football. This is about having a campus that is attractive and brings quality families to our community. This is a big deal — it makes us competitive in lots of arenas, and not just in football. We already have something really special (at Cleveland) and this turf just adds to it.”

The total cost of the turf project is $774,628, which will be broken up into three payments over the next three years. CCS has already made the first payment of roughly $275,000 and will be paying $250,000 in years two and three. This project was 100 percent funded by the school system and comes from the non-recurring funds, which can only be used for capital-type expenses. CCS had $50,000 set aside for soil stabilization, but Director of Maintenance and Transportation Hal Taylor said that only $21,684 was ultimately needed.

“This was a great investment and is something that the whole city can be proud of and something we’re definitely proud of in the district,” declared Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer. BOE chairperson Dawn Robinson has been equally as impressed with the turf.

“The final product is absolutely beautiful and I feel like I have a spring in my step when walking on it,” Robinson said. “Seeing the kids on it is what’s truly exciting.”

The football team has already been using the new turf field for summer practices and head coach Scott Cummings continues to be proud of the school system’s investment in the top-quality GreenFields Sports Turf Systems.

“To truly be the only high school in the country to have this actual product is pretty special. We’re on the cutting edge, really — a lot of places might have had turf a long time ago, but to have this quality field is a very special thing,” Cummings stated.

The coach explained that the school board deciding to add an optional extra layer of cushioning underneath the turf was something that added to the “special” factor.

“That’s not the norm, necessarily, for high school fields,” Cummings said. “A lot of D-I schools and NFL teams do that, but not a lot of high schools do.”

The decision to add the extra layer of cushioning was made with the intention of lessening the severity of injuries, and hopefully seeing a decrease in their number, although the turf company cannot guarantee that will be the case.

“Anything we can do to [possibly] prevent injuries or promote student well-being, we want to do it,” said Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer. It hasn’t just been the football team out utilizing the turf field, but other CHS athletic teams have ventured out as well.

“It’s been a great experience just to come out and watch football practice, but it hasn’t just been football players that have been down here, we’ve already had other teams down here using the field. The volleyball team was practicing using the goal and a weighted ball the other day. We already have multipurpose uses for this facility that are being used right now, and that’s neat to see,” Dyer said.