Aberdeen High is the next Harford County high school in to get an artificial turf field for its football stadium, part of a multi-million, multi-year project to install turf fields at all of Harford's high schools.
The Harford County Board of Estimates approved a $990,425 contract to install the field during its meeting in Bel Air Thursday morning. The contractor is Dixie Construction Company of Churchville, which submitted the lowest of four bids that county parks and recreation and school officials have recommended be accepted by the board.
Once Aberdeen's field is completed, seven Harford high schools will have turf fields, leaving Joppatowne, Fallston and Patterson Mill the only ones with natural grass fields.
Work on installing the turf at Aberdeen High will get under way this summer and will be completed in mid-October, according to Paul Magness, chief of capital planning for the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
"We hope to have the field ready for the homecoming game on the 25th of October," Magness said Wednesday. Until the field is ready, Aberdeen will have to play its games on the road, although the Eagles will be considered the "home" team in some of those earlier contests.
Those arrangements will be similar to what the C. Milton Wright football team did during the first half of the season last year, while the turf was being installed at its field.
Magness said the project entails grading and installing the stone base under the field and then the turf itself, plus any backfilling that needs to be done once the new field is in place.
According to board of estimates documents, Dixie's bid was within the $1.3 million budget for the project.
Parks and Recreation maintains all the high school turf fields in cooperation with Harford County Public Schools, using in-house resources and equipment, Magness' memo on the bids states.
Magness explained that parks and rec is responsible for some fields and the school system others.
"The staffs work well together, and the system works out very well," he said, adding that the new field at Aberdeen High will be maintained by the school system.
Magness said the Field Turf Tarket XM65 will be installed on the AHS field, the same that was installed at Harford Tech, Bel Air High and Edgewood High.
Aberdeen High has fielded football teams since the early 1950s. The 2003 team won a state championship. The football field got a new scoreboard last season, paid for mostly by business sponsors.
In addition to Harford Tech, Bel Air, C. Milton Wright and Edgewood, other high schools in the county with turf fields are North Harford and Havre de Grace. After Aberdeen's field is installed, only Joppatowne, Fallston and Patterson Mill will still have natural grass football fields.
Magness said funding to install the field at Joppatowne High was approved within the 2014 county budget that was adopted last month, and the new turf on the JHS field will be installed next summer.
No decision has been made whether Fallston or Patterson Mill will get turf next, Magness said, but he noted that Fallston teams have access to the turf field at the nearby Fallston Recreation Complex and have used that field for practices and games.