Turf under consideration for Jasper High baseball field

By NICOLE SMITH
Posted 5/22/19

On the heels of approving to turf the Jasper High School football field, the Jasper City Board of Education is now considering the installation of synthetic turf on the district's baseball …

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Turf under consideration for Jasper High baseball field

Posted

On the heels of approving to turf the Jasper High School football field, the Jasper City Board of Education is now considering the installation of synthetic turf on the district's baseball field.

Jasper High baseball coach Pat Ware gave a presentation to school board members on how current field conditions are negatively impacting the teams that utilize it.

The high school's football field had to be replaced due to culvert issues that caused standing water at both the football and baseball fields; however, Ware said even with recent culvert work to repair water problems, the baseball field will still have drainage issues on its playing surface.  

"It's been there a while, and it's just in bad shape," Ware said of the baseball field's surface.

Of 77 scheduled practices before spring break, only eight occurred due to poor field conditions, Ware said, adding that between three teams, 29 scheduled home games were lost and had to be canceled or moved to another location.  

"To break that down even more, we had 38 home games scheduled. Seventy-six percent of our games, we had to go on the road," Ware said. "That causes a snowball effect for a lot of folks."   

"We had a very good team, and a lot of people didn't get to see it," he added.

Aside from rescheduling issues, Ware said a lack of practices hindered player development and money was lost.

Each home game can garner between $400 to $500 in ticket sales, in addition to concession proceeds. The field's current condition has made it impossible to even sell season tickets, Ware said.

Warner’s Athletic Construction is installing turf at the football field, and company board of directors member Russ Russell said turfing the baseball field would cost 15 percent less than turfing the football field, which came at a cost of just over $900,000.

He said the school board would be looking at a cost of between $800,000 and $1 million to turf the baseball field. Bringing in fences around the field would yield a cost savings, he said, and a number of possible additions to the project would impact the cost.

If the school system opted to use traditional grass on the field, they would still be expending $15,000 to $20,000 in maintenance annually. At prior meetings, Russell has stated turf is much easier to maintain.

"You can expect 13 years out of this field, and you can get 15 if you wanted to," Russell said, regarding turf.

 Outside of general play, the baseball field, if turfed, could be used for tournaments, community games and potentially band practice, Russell said.  

Should the school board approve the turf option, excavation of the baseball field would need to be finished no later than Thanksgiving in order for the field to be finished by baseball season in early 2020.

The school board may vote on whether to turf the baseball field as early as this Friday morning. A school board meeting is scheduled that day at 7:30 a.m. at the school system's central office.

As far as the football field, work is still on schedule for turfing to be finished a few weeks before the start of football season.