The stadium turf at Trojan Field at Lee County High School is being pulled up to make way for an artificial surface. (Staff Photo: Tim Morse)
LEESBURG — The large dump trucks rolled through the gates near the Lee County High School football fieldhouse Monday afternoon, hauling out large chunks of natural grass.
The bleachers on the north end of the stadium have been temporarily moved to allow the large equipment inside, and the old grass has been rolled up into about a dozen rows like a soft taco.
As heavy equipment such as backhoes and industrial graders rip out the memories, the stadium will soon have a new artificial surface to make newer memories.
The new turf, the first in the metro Albany area, is expected to be ready when the Trojans play host to Westover in a nationally televised game on ESPNU at 1 p.m. on Aug. 23.
While some Southwest Georgia schools like Colquitt County, Lowndes and Valdosta have played on synthetic turf for the past few seasons, it’s the first of its kind for any school in The Herald’s coverage area.
Lee County football coach Dean Fabrizio watched contractors remove some of the old turf Monday morning.
“There is a lot of great memories,” Fabrizio said. “The field is still going to be there, it’s just going to be in a lot better shape all the time.”
Getting artificial turf for its football stadium, a new scoreboard with a large video screen and a new multi-use facility are part of the athletic improvements county voters approved in May. The video screen has been installed, and the turf should be ready by mid-August, while the multipurpose facility, which will include a new locker room, weight room, cheer room and some classrooms won’t be started for a few months.
It should be completed by the start of the 2015 season.
“To see the work they are doing, there are a lot of things going on,” Fabrizio said. “The kids are excited, the community is excited, it’s nice to see the progress. There’s going to be a lot of construction going on for a while.”
The Trojans are the latest high school team to join the FieldTurf Revolution, the highest quality of turf currently available on the market. It will be the same turf installed on the University of Georgia’s football practice facility. It’s also installed at Gillette Stadium where the New England Patriots play. The turf will include a Cool-Play system, designed to reduce surface temperatures up to 35 degrees without a reduction in field performance.