Roy Anderson Field was first, getting a much-needed field turf replacement in summer 2017. Now, the upper fields at Gig Harbor High School are getting upgraded.
Work will begin later this month to install new turf on the upper fields at Gig Harbor High School, which includes a soccer field, a (compressed) football field and a softball field. The footprint and layout will remain the same, making it a basic swap, with the old turf coming off, and the new turf going on.
The only change will be additional field lines for lacrosse. The new surface will be a welcome upgrade, as the current turf is about 13 years old. The average life expectancy for a turf field is about 10 years.
“It’s a positive thing,” said Peninsula School District director of facilities Patrick Gillespie. “I know our community really values the turf fields, especially the lighted ones. We have the only two (lit, turf fields) in the area. They’re highly used. I would think the public support would be there for it. It’ll be good for the community.”
Gig Harbor High School athletic director Bob Werner is excited for the new surface, but is a bit disappointed that more couldn’t be done in the way of upgrades.
Ideally, Werner would like to explore the idea of expanding the football field to a full-size field and exploring some portable fencing ideas that would give the boys baseball teams an opportunity to play on turf.
“It’s good they’re replacing it, obviously,” Werner said. “But the bad part is that we don’t have any money to do anything different. The money just isn’t there.”
Expanding the existing field footprint would require additional permitting, construction, etc. It would be a costly project that the district simply can’t afford, especially with the district’s ongoing struggle of passing bonds.
The new turf is coming at a good time, as the current field was beginning to fail GMAX tests. GMAX testing measures how many G’s of force a field can absorb upon impact, and how many are returned to the athlete. A high GMAX test value means the field is absorbing less impact, and retuning more force to the player (resulting in a potentially dangerous situation). The district began patching problematic spots on the field during the 2017-18 school year.
“We did some extensive repairs last year in the areas that didn’t pass,” Gillespie said. “It’s past its life expectancy. It’s time. We just don’t want to risk another year and have it fail and then have to do more repairs.”
After a bidding process, the district chose Coast to Coast Turf to handle the replacement. The tentative starting date is June 18. Ideally, the field will be completed sometime in mid-June, in time for the start of football practice, but the time frame is subject to weather conditions.
Gillespie said the district expects the field to open for community use on Sept. 1, if everything goes smoothly.