NEW RICHMOND -- The synthetic turf at the New Richmond High School stadium is now installed, completing the second phase of the process.
The third phase is planned for next year, which will include constructing a concession stand with restrooms, two ticket booths with wrought iron gates and bleachers with a pressbox on the west side of the field. The ticket booths will be built by two high school classes, the buildings and trades class and the welding and fabrication class.
New Richmond Chamber of Commerce members will be invited Monday, Sept. 23, when the New Richmond freshman and junior varsity football teams will play their games at the new facility. Athletic Director Casey Eckardt and Superintendent Patrick Olson will give a tour of the facilities, talking about the progress made so far and the plans to come. A social hour after the games will be held at Champs.
Eckardt said the work is planned so that the Tiger varsity football team will be able to play at the facility in 2020. This is based on funding from the Stadium Capital Campaign.
The turf was given its first official usage on Monday when soccer and football teams practiced on the field. That was followed by the junior varsity soccer team hosting Hudson on Tuesday and the varsity boys hosting Baldwin-Woodville.
Installing turf took much of the summer, with early rains pushing back the start of the project.
Phase 3 construction is estimated to cost $1.5 million. A committee is working to raise the funds. The bleachers will be I-beam construction with water-tight storage underneath, so all the sports using the complex can have onsite storage. The bleachers' capacity is expected to be near 2,300 on the home side and 800 on the visitor side.
The bleachers from the visitors side of the middle school field may be transported to the high school complex. They would be added to the east side bleachers, to give seating for 800 more people. This will be especially important during the track season, with the home stretch of the track placed on the east side of the field.
Eckardt said the synthetic turf chosen is “Greenfields Iron Turf” from Midwest Sport and Turf, which also installed the turf.
“We've been very impressed with the product,” he said. He said Midwest Turf gave extensive training to the school district staff, who are taking care of the synthetic turf seriously. No food is allowed on the surf and the only drink allowed is water. No metal spikes are prohibited.
The site was prepped by Peterson Construction. All the soil down four feet was removed , with layers of sand and rock brought in to form a stable foundation. Eckardt said that combination makes the turf soft to run on and to land upon. Eckardt said this turf isn’t expected to be slippery, even under rainy conditions.
The artificial turf will benefit a variety of sports and activities. This will be one of the first spots where the snow melts in the spring, so the baseball and softball teams will be able to get in early practices. Eckardt said the field could be arranged so softball games could be played on the field. He said the field will also be a helpful tool for physical education classes and the Tiger strength and conditioning programs.
The high school band also will have a better place to practice, Eckardt added.
The increased capacity of the new bleachers would allow for New Richmond to host higher-level neutral site games in football and soccer.