By Ryan Kaczmarski
Lutheran West High School dedicated its renovated football stadium on Friday, but changing over from natural grass to artificial turf is not a simple procedure.
“When we’re converting a natural grass field to (artificial) turf, the biggest thing we have to do is to get it down to sub-grade,” Scott Franks of Sports Construction Group, the company chosen to do the conversion, said. “Underneath this turf is six inches of stone, and underneath the stone is primary layer for drainage.”
The drainage system consists of two primary pipes under the field that lead the water from the field area to the main sewer system.
After the stone layer is graded and leveled, the artificial surface can be laid on top and the field starts to take shape. What is not typically known, is that the stripes on the field are not painted on, but are actually different-colored turf, which is cut and placed into the field.
“The main white lines (every five yards) come from the factory already on the field, along with the soccer and lacrosse end lines,” Franks said. “All the radiuses have to be cut out on the field, including the football (yard) numbers, arrows and hashes, and glued down.
“That is really the tedious part of the job,” he added. “We have to make sure all the lines are straight and the glue holds.”
The new football field and infield for the baseball team are the first phase of the Unleash the Spirit capital campaign for improvement of Lutheran West High School. The field improvements do not only affect the sports teams playing on them, but also the whole Lutheran West community.
“The Unleash the Spirit campaign, in its entirety, will affect every student in our school,” John Buetow, Lutheran West superintendent, said. “People see the fields being done and they think it’s only going to affect the football and baseball teams, but it will help our band, cheerleaders, flag line, track team, soccer teams, our elementary school programs and physical education programs. So, well over half of our students will be helped by this particular phase.
“By having the turf, for both football and baseball fields, not only do we not run the risk of having to play home games at away places, but it will increase the enjoyment level of the people here to watch the games,” Buetow stated.
The other phases of the campaign include the renovation of the school’s auditorium, which will affect every student in the school.
“Nearly every student, every day, will be positively impacted by this campaign,” Buetow concluded.