It has been more than a decade when the ever-needed turf fields made their way to a high school field near you. As the highly effective and often used turf fields were installed, it was no secret that in a matter of time, replacement turfs were to be needed.
So, having been constructed in 2010, the field at Bel Air High School is undergoing the transformation.
The work began a couple of weeks ago with removal of the turf and its rubber fill, taking the field back to its base.
Field Turf, USA, one of three vendors on call by Harford County Parks and Recreation and approved by the Board of Estimates, is doing the work at a total cost of $687,000, according to Cindy Mumby, Director of Harford County Governmental & Community Relations
It is Field Turf who did the first turf field for the new Bel Air High School. Based in Montreal, Canada, Field Turf has also done the school fields at Edgewood, Harford Tech and Aberdeen.
“We’re responsible for it, we’ve hired this installer, a manufacturer and installer to put the field in, it’s our project, a county project,” Mumby said. “There were a number of fields put in over two years in 2008 and 2009, there were eight fields put in. The fields are supposed to last 8-10 years so we’re at the point here where we’re doing replacements.”
North Harford was the first field done in 2008 and it was redone in 2018 after deemed unsafe for athletic contests. Athletic Director Tim Larrimore remembers having to add rubber fill constantly before it was ruled unplayable. Larrimore said the new field is ’100 percent better.'
At Bel Air, Craig Reddish is taking over the Athletic Director role making it official Friday, which is July 1 and the start of the new fiscal year.
“I think the main thing is, I think all the turfs have like a life cycle, so I don’t know the exact year, but we’ve had it down for 10, 11 years or so, so you start getting these wear spots and then the stuff underneath starts wearing, so then it doesn’t have the cushion or the pad that it should have,” Reddish said. “We had some damage in the areas, where the creases and things like that, where people were standing all the time.”
In reality, it was just time.
The field at Edgewood High School, debuted in 2010 with Bel Air, was redone last Summer. The Edgewood field also had a drainage issue on the far sideline to address.
“We we’re just kind of up, it was our up, Reddish said. “The COVID situation actually helped us because this turf was going to be taken care of in the Fall. That would have meant all of our home games would have been on the road.”
With schools out due to the pandemic, the school administration, led by Bel Air High Principal Greg Komondor, and county officials were proactive in getting the process started early. The Bel Air field is in the 2020-2021 budget.
“So with this situation, our principal really pushed for us to start this process ahead of time, so it looks like were on the right path. If everything’s a go for the Fall, we should be ready by summer practices,” Reddish said. “We had less damage underneath, so it just needs to be re-leveled, resurfaced, fill in the spots that maybe are missing. We didn’t have as much of that and so really it’s, our main thing is the surface part needed some improvements.”
The new turf installation is planned to begin next Monday and the finish date is supposed to be by August 12.
“The parks and rec people have been amazing and our administration has been amazing,” Reddish said.
The new Bel Air field will have a logo in the center of the field, joining others. It started with a paw at Fallston and Edgewood has an ‘E'. Patterson Mill has a Husky and Bel Air will have ‘BA’.
“The logo is gonna be, that’s something that we really pushed for, our booster club really made an effort to provide that for us, because that’s an additional cost,” Reddish said. The logos at each school field have been a result of booster club efforts.
“I’m excited to be a part of this process. It’s exciting,” Reddish said.
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Also on schedule in the 2020-2021 budget are fields at Cedar Lane Regional Park. The work includes one replacement and one new construction, per Mumby.