From this (on June 11, 2012).....
To this (on July 30, 2012).....
I still have a hard time believing this is real, and an even harder time putting it into words how cool this is....but as of July 30, 2012, a completed turf field now resides at Red Rider Stadium...and in what is a highlight of the 4+ years I've been writing this blog...I can now say that Serpentini Field at Red Rider Stadium is now a part of the list of Northeast Ohio Turf Stadiums. I made that list at least 3 years ago and I had hoped to add our field someday. Now I can. Again, pinch me.
What is so amazing about this project is how swift it has moved along, especially the turf piece. It took just eleven days from the time the first roll of turf was installed at Red Rider Stadium, but that's all that was needed...thanks to a hard working crew and some dry weather.
From the day the first piece of grass was removed from the field until this past Monday when the turf was completed was only 7 weeks & 2 days. Work on the field started on June 11th, and ended on July 30th. That's just amazing.
What exists now is simply one of the nicest fields anywhere in the state for a public school of our size, and a testament to the community of Orrville and the support the citizens, alumni and businesses have shown time and again. I know of only three other Division 4 public schools that have turf (Huron, Martins Ferry and Germantown Valley View)...and none can boast the 'campus' feel of their district like we can.
The best, or most satisfying part of this project was the fact that it was 100% privately funded.....everything being done at the stadium except for the track will be paid for with privately raised dollars. This was a true grassroots effort from it's beginning in January. This was done on a quick time schedule, but done well. Smart people made smart decisions and hard working crews got this job done with pride. Was great to see local companies used when possible. Orrville Trucking & Grading provided stone for the base, B&K Concrete (Marshallville) did miscellaneous concrete work and Berkey Excavating (Smithville) did all the sod removal and field grading. Truly a local project. Local dollars & local contractors.
Here's an album I put together on the "Team up for Turf" Facebook page that shows the progress from the start of this project in June until now. Here's a 2nd album with just panorama photos. You don't have to be signed up with Facebook to see the photos. Keep checking back there to see updated photos.
Now that the turf is down, work with re-focus on the track with the crew from VASCO back to put the latex topcoat on top of the new asphalt that was poured in late June. The process is a 7-layer process that will only add 1/2" of thickness to the track. Each layer must dry completely before the next layer is applied. Once they finish that, the track will need to cure for 2 weeks and then they will apply the proper lane markings.
Work on the bleacher wrap from Gameday Renovations out of Massillon should be finished up by late this week or early next week....as well as new fencing around the perimeter of the track and stadium is in process as well. The old fencing was really starting to show it's wear. Again, both of these projects (the bleacher wrap and fencing) are being paid for by the funds raised by the turf committee.
Also part of the turf project is a permanent recognition space for all donors to the project as well as a space to honor past Red Rider coaching legends. This will be located near the south entrance by the fence. Currently there is a plaque honoring former team physician Dr. Reiheld....that will remain, but there will be 3 other plaques added to recognize former coaches Bill Shunkwiler, Mo Tipton and Bill McMillan. Those 3 coaches represent 50 years of Red Rider football and account for 363 of the program's 596 all-time wins.
Turf Grand Opening
The first contest on the turf will be the JV football game between Northwest and Orrville on Saturday August 25th. The varsity team will host Triway on August 31st and the soccer team will host their first home match on turf on September 4th.
A special night is being planned for August 31st to dedicate this field for the next generation of Red Riders...make plans to be there.
As of this past Monday, the turf committee is excited to report that just over $650,000 (new donor list has been posted) has been committed to this project. It's been explained to me that the whole project (turf, grooming equipment, bleacher wrap, recognition space, etc.) will cost somewhere around $625,000-$645,000.
Anything above that range will go to a replacement fund for the turf. The field will last roughly 10-12 years until it will need replaced...and cost to replace will be several hundred thousand dollars.
The naming rights that Serpentini Chevy currently holds will expire in 10 years, and the new naming rights sponsor ($100,000) coupled with money being raised right now to replace the turf (hopefully another $100,000) will go a long way to paying for the 2nd generation of 'red rider turf.'
It is the goal of the committee that the field not be a financial burden to the district in 10-12 years, which is why funds are being set aside now. There likely won't be a large fundraising effort the next time around so that is why a push is being done now.
Fundraising will likely cease on September 7th, and as mentioned above, all donors will be recognized on the plaque at the stadium, so please help out if you can. Our goal of $750,000 is still within reach. Visit RedRiderTurf.com today to pledge your tax deductible support to this project.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU....on behalf of the committee to the citizens of Orrville, OHS alums and especially the Orrville business community. Your support is just amazing.