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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Love says cost reduced on new turf

Staff Writer

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah school officials have worked out an agreement on the installation of artificial turf at Eagle Stadium that should bring in the cost of the project below budget, superintendent Don Love said today.

FieldTurf came in as the lowest bidder last month, when the project to put artificial turf in the stadium and to resurface the track at the high school field was rebidded by the P-B-T school board. The second bids were taken after the company that won the original bid, ProGreen of Louisiana, was unable to get bonded in Texas.

Love said after talking with company officials, the district was able to lower the cost of the combined field and track work by just under $10,000, to $517,000.

“We don’t have a final contract yet, but we do have a signed agreement,” Love said. He said the district’s architect will be in Pecos on Thursday and may have a final contract too sign at that time.

Of the $517,000 total, $490,000 will be for installation of the field, and $27,000 for latex resurfacing of the track. “They’ll put two layers of rubber on it. It will be just like it was when we built it,” Love said.

“The good thing about it is when we were considering doing this we were looking at $530,000, and this $517,000 includes a $25,000 contingency fee for the field and $2,500 for the turf,” Love said. The contingency fees are for unexpected costs. If they aren’t used, the cost of the project would come in at $489,500.

The school district last fall looked at putting artificial turf on the high school football, baseball and softball fields, but school board members balked at the combined $2.1 million cost, and in January voted to only replace the grass at Eagle Stadium. Love said the turf would carry an eight-year warranty and would cover all the areas at the stadium where grass currently is located.

Montreal, Canada-based FieldTurf installed one field at a similar-sized West Texas school last year, in Denver City. Their first installation in Texas was at Amarillo’s Dick Bivins Stadium in 1998. Pecos’ football team played on FieldTurf once during the 2003 season, against Lubbock High at Lowery Field.

“We’re going with the best company there is,” said Pecos Eagles head football coach Patrick Willis. “I truly believe there won’t be a better high school field in the area. There will be some little additional features that will be nice and something that the community and the kids can be proud of.”

“We’ll have a 6-foot out-of-bounds line and purple end zones with ‘Pecos’ in one end and ‘Eagles’ in the other,” Love said. A 10-year wide Eagle logo, painted onto the field for certain games during the past two seasons, would be permanently painted onto the new field, he added.

FieldTurf’s website lists a number of college and professional football teams that have installed turf in their stadiums or practice field. Teams playing on the turf in the NFL include the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and both New York teams at Giants Stadium. Nebraska and Kansas State in the Big 12 also play on FieldTurf.

The original time schedule for installation called for work to begin at the start of April and be completed by mid-May. The new schedule will cut things much closer, with the completion date for both the field and track scheduled for Aug. 15, according to Love. Preseason football workouts for Pecos will begin on Aug. 3, and the Eagles will scrimmage Coahoma at home the weekend of Aug. 21.

“We’ll go (practice) at the junior high, just like we did last year,” Willis said of the pre-season drills in early August. “We want to try and stay off the baseball field forever.” Both the varsity and junior varsity teams will practice at Eagle Stadium once the turf is installed. The freshman football team will work out on the section of the old practice field not taken up for the new girls’ softball field, and Willis said, “When we need to do sled work, we’ll go over there.”

One other concern during the early part of the season will be the Pecos’ summer temperatures. The city traditionally is one of the hottest in the nation during the summer months, and artificial turf fields reflect heat back up more than natural grass surfaces. “We didn’t have any heat-related problems last year, and with two-a-days I’m looking at early morning and then evening practices,” Willis said. He added that trainer Joel Birch is looking at a new hydration machine for the players to use to avoid heat-related problems. Love said aside from talking about the new field with architect Monte Hunter on Thursday, he would also bee getting an update on the new gym for Austin Elementary School. Dirt work has been started on the east side of the first through third grade school, whose students currently have no indoor recreational facility.

“Right now I meet every two weeks with the group. Once they start erecting something, we’ll meet once a week,” Love said. The gym is also scheduled to be competed in time for the 2004-05 school year.

Tennis clinic for youth, adults;
school events today, Thursday

Two days of games and drills with “Mr. Sunshine” will be offered to local students on Wednesday and Thursday this week at the Pecos High School tennis courts.

Youth classes will include games and basic stroke production, while advanced stroke instruction will be available for intermediate students and more intensive workouts and strategy instruction for high school and adult players.

The classes will be 5 to 6 p.m. both days for 6-11 year olds, 6-7 p.m. for 12-14 year olds and 7-8:30 p.m. for high school and adult players. The classes are limited to 20 youth, 12 intermediate and 10 advanced players with fees of $5 per day or $7.50 for both days for the youth class, $8-$12 for the intermediate class and $10-$18 for the high school/adult class.

Students also will participate in tennis-related events today and Thursday. Austin Elementary students were scheduled to participate this morning and afternoon, while Pecos Kindergarten and Bessie Haynes Elementary students would be involved during sessions on Thursday morning and afternoon.

For further information, contact PHS coach Mike Ortiz at 448-2782.

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