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TASD Embarks on Major Gray Field Revamp Project

The ongoing debate on the future of Gray Field has finally come to a close

The ongoing debate on the future of Gray Field has finally come to a close

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For many years, Gray’s Veteran’s Memorial Field has been a heated topic of debate. The field has been in dire need of repairs due to major drainage problems and the wear and tear from many rainy Friday night football games. This has led to discussions at several Tyrone Area School Board meetings and on social media over what to do about the declining condition of the historic field.

Last January, the board heard a presentation by Tyrone native and local sportswriter Kerry Naylor on the benefits of artificial turf. Since then, members of the school board and the community have been gathering information and weighing the cost and benefits of artificial versus natural turf at Gray Field.

The picture above shows the layout of the cross sectioned trenches that will cover Gray Field.

At the April meeting of the Tyrone Area School Board finally put the debate to rest by adopting a plan that they believe will be the long term solution to restore the hallowed grounds of Gray’s Field with a new drainage system and natural grass playing surface.

Tom Muir, TASD’s Physical Plant Supervisor, is overseeing the project, which has already begun and will continue throughout the summer.

The district has entered into a contract with Hummer Turfgrass Systems to renovate the field. Hummer Turfgrass Systems is a well known company that has renovated athletic fields from elementary schools to the NFL and MLB, including Penn State’s Beaver Stadium and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park.

“Hummer Turfgrass Systems are professionals at natural turf field restoration” said Muir, “We should have a very high quality natural turf field when they are completed with the project.”

In addition to a new grass field, Hummer is installing a Sand Grid Drainage System, which is a turf drainage system developed by company founder Bob Hummer over 25 years ago.

According to their website, the system involves narrow trenches both vertically and horizontally under the field that absorb excess moisture and carry it off of the playing surface, making the field playable after a rain in a much shorter period of time than before. This renovation will also involve the installation of a new sprinkler system and laying of Kentucky Bluegrass sod.

“Hummer has always done an excellent job and because of this, we continue to use their services to produce high quality athletic fields,” said Mr. Bob Hudzik, the Director of Outdoor Facilities at PSU.

This photo gives a three dimensional look at the project.

According to Muir and officials from Hummer, the new natural turf field will take less than half of the chunk out of Tyrone’s budget that artificial turf would have. Artificial turf is usually priced around $1 million, while this turf replacement project is $300,000.

Weather permitting, the installation is expected to go until the end of June. Then new sod will be put back and that should take up the majority of the remaining summer. The goal is to have the field ready in time for the first home football game of the year against one of Tyrone’s rivals, the Central Dragons on September 1.

The new field will also include an underground zoned irrigation system that will automatically water the field when and where it needs it.

According to Muir, once the renovation is complete, aside from a couple minor repairs, the field should last approximately 8-10 years before any major fixes or touch ups are needed.

“Artificial turf would’ve lasted at most 10 years before it would need replaced entirely costing the school way too much money,” said Muir. “The school board chose this option not only because of the quality but also the long term costs.”

 

 

 

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The voice of the Tyrone Area High School
TASD Embarks on Major Gray Field Revamp Project