PLHS stadium overhaul begins in earnest for new athletic year
by Scott Hopkins
Jul 11, 2012 | 4602 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A water truck sprays newly exposed dirt after the well-worn artificial turf of Bennie Edens Field at Point Loma High School was removed. Work crews will be installing a beautiful new playing surface to honor the legendary coach. 
                                                                                       Photo by Scott Hopkins I The Beacon
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FieldTurf among facelifts touted for Sept. 1 schedule

The date Sept. 1 is likely circled on many calendars around the Peninsula.

For starters, it’s Point Loma High School’s annual “Kick-Off 2012,” a football triple-header that involves hundreds of students as players, band members, NJROTC color guard and others.

But this year is even more special.

Bennie Edens Field, as it has been known for years in the community, is undergoing a total facelift. And the question that has prompted some nail-biting among football coaches and administrative staff is: Will the new field be completely installed and certified for play by Sept. 1?

The new field will be one that would likely make Edens proud. It will be made from FieldTurf, the leading surfacing in use today, the same material underfoot at NFL and major league baseball stadiums, World Cup matches and more than 100 NCAA Division I universities.

Pointer Athletic Director John Murphy, whose girls’ soccer teams will play on the new pitch, said he is thrilled.

“They will start putting down the new field on July 26,” Murphy said.

An important part of the project, Murphy said, was giving students input on the new field’s design. There was strong sentiment for one component.

“The kids were really clear about which of the school’s mascots should appear on the new field,” Murphy said.

Thus, the field will have the words “Point Loma” in one end zone and “Pointers” in the other, with the “angry dog” mascot snarling at fans from the 50-yard line.

Permanent lines for other sports will also be included on the surface, using different colors for each, Murphy said.

Because of the PLHS field’s unique dimensions, Murphy was able to have the soccer sidelines placed a full 70 yards apart, making the field compliant with high school, NCAA and international size requirements.

Crews from Byrom-Davey, Inc., a San Diego firm specializing in athletic facilities, have been busy since mid-June tearing out the old turf, which was worn thin from more than a decade of intense use by Pointer sports teams and physical education classes, as well as various community groups.

But finishing the new field isn’t just a matter of stretching a new carpet over dirt.

Below infill and backing layers, crews will install water piping under the entire field, giving Pointer officials the ability to flush, sanitize and cool the new surface.

Also, a special vacuuming/cleaning tool will be kept at PLHS for surface maintenance.

Byrom-Davey, Inc. has installed 194 stadium and track surfaces over the last 11 years, including practice fields for the San Diego Chargers.

FieldTurf claims its product “protects muscles and joints,” with a “documented reduction in neural and lower-extremity injuries,” something that is encouraging to school coaches and leaders.

“This field is going to be 100 percent better than what we had,” Murphy said.

The Byrom-Davey website cites a record of performance, stating, “We normally are in advance of the schedule,” saying the company has never missed a completion date. It lists numerous county public and private schools as references.

PLHS administrators, coaches, parents, players, fans and boosters are counting on the company’s spotless record to remain so.

FIELD NOTES

• The school district’s Proposition S website lists the field’s cost range as $200,000 to $1 million. The high number may be closer to reality.

• Also running under the new turf will be an electrical conduit containing wiring for stadium speakers and a future press box that is scheduled to be built atop the seating area.

• Athletes will actually play on the “infill” level of FieldTurf. Made of cryogenic rubber and silica sand, the infill weighs more than nine pounds per square foot or 720,000 pounds for a field like Point Loma’s.

• Parent boosters are busy planning an action-packed day for the Sept. 1 “Kick-Off” event, which will include an auction, events at halftime of each game and an official opening and tours of the Pointers’ new, highly-praised weight-training facility, possibly featuring a celebrity guest or two.

• The combination ticket booth/snack bar/restroom facility to be built at the stadium’s Voltaire Street entrance is listed as a $1 million to $5 million project. A new contractor has been named after the original bid winner was deemed unqualified to perform specific project work.

• The rubberized track surface at PLHS is in good condition and in need of only minor repairs, so is not part of the field project, Murphy said.

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