Field Turf Is Becoming a Reality at Johnson
Crews with Professional Turf Solutions from Durango, Colorado, were in Johnson on July 18 installing artificial turf on the field where the Johnson-Brock Eagles play football.
Dirt work began about a month ago and was followed by trenching for drain tile and installation of an eight-inch rock base.
Jim Gerking of EnTire Recycling is contributing crushed rubber that will be placed onto the field, as well as overseeing the project during its actual construction. Gerking’s business is located near Highway 136 at Phelps City, Missouri.
Johnson-Brock Public Schools received a $60,000 Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality grant which covers 25 percent of the total cost of the field, Superintendent Jeff Koehler earlier told the Nemaha County Herald.
The District 23 Board of Education approved the Field Turf project at its May meeting. School officials have worked with Gerking and others in bringing the project to a reality.
Gerking told the newspaper last week that he believed installation would be complete by later this week. Two-a-day football practices start Monday, Aug. 6.
After the field project is finished, there will be other smaller related tasks which must be completed. These include installing a fence on the south side to keep vehicles off of the field.
Plans for the improvement got underway during the 2011 Eagles football season. At that time, Brett Davis, Johnson-Brock’s head football coach and activities director mentioned to Koehler the condition of the field.
Koehler said that he had been down to the football field and noticed it was in rough condition. “Over four to five years, games were played under rainy and wet conditions, which hurt the condition of the field,” he commented.
School officials then started to look at options for field improvement. These options included reseeding, new seeding and sod—all of which required underground sprinklers. Cost of those options were in the $20,000 to $50,000 range, depending upon what directions the school officials chose to proceed.
Koehler continued, “We started dreaming about what Field Turf would cost us. We talked to Jim Gerking, who did work for us on determining how much Field Turf would cost and how to obtain it as inexpensively as possible.
The options were then presented to the school board, which looked at possible scenarios.
“We figured that sod and new grass would take a lot of work. By the time this football season starts, new grass and sod wouldn’t have a chance to get established. If we did grass again, we would be in the same situation four to five years from now,” Koehler told the newspaper last month.
The Field Turf installed at Johnson is three-strand with three-eighths of an inch stitching. It is 2 1/4 inches tall before the crumb rubber is applied. The turf is the same as that at Memorial Stadium for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The Eagles may be the only public eight-man football school in Nebraska to have a turf field. However, turf fields are becoming more of a trend in the state. Pioneer Field in Nebraska City and Jug Brown Stadium at Falls City have turf fields. State colleges which play on turf include Doane, Hastings and Nebraska Wesleyan.
There are several advantages to having Field Turf, including that there is no slipping and it is easier to maintain. There will be no painting and no pylons set out for yard markers.
The new Field Turf surface will be used for more than Eagle football games. Koehler indicated the school plans to use it for physical education classes and it will also be available for elementary football leagues.
With the option of being able to practice on the same field where the games are played, that opens up the existing practice field to providing additional space for parking.
So when you want to see an example of Field Turf in Nemaha County, drive to Johnson to see the home for the Eagles football team.
Johnson-Brock opens the 2012 season against visiting Sterling on Friday, Aug. 24, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.