New field won’t be ready for start of football practice | AspenTimes.com

New field won’t be ready for start of football practice

Nate Peterson

Installation of the new $800,000 turf field at the Aspen School District complex is expected to be complete by Wednesday. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

The Aspen High School football team will begin practices for the fall season Monday, but not on its new $800,000 turf field.The field, which is being installed by the world leader in artificial surfaces, FieldTurf Inc., isn’t expected to be completed until Wednesday. On Thursday, workers were laying the last pieces of colored turf inlays for the hash marks and numbers on the field. When that process is completed, layers of sand and tiny rubber morsels will be raked into the artificial grass to provide the cushioning.

“The whole process of putting in the sand and rubber takes about four days,” Superintendent Diana Sirko said. “It’s about 2 1/2 inches. It takes time to rake it all in and compact it.” On Monday and Tuesday, the football team plans to practice on Upper Moore Field. The school’s softball team also uses the same field, but Sirko said practice schedules have been worked out so that the two teams will have the field at separate times.The new turf surface was scheduled to be completed by Monday, but delays on the new FieldTurf field at Colorado State’s Hughes Stadium pushed back that date, Sirko said.The same FieldTurf regional office in Highlands Ranch was contracted to do both fields. The construction schedule on the Aspen field allowed for a two-week bubble in case there were any delays on either field, which was the case at Hughes.

All told, FieldTurf installed 40 new fields in the U.S. alone this summer.The surface that Aspen’s athletes will be playing on this fall is the same used by a number of NFL teams, as well as colleges.As for the other improvements to the field, Sirko said the new $200,000 lights are already working, and the visitors bleachers are close to being finished.New home bleachers and a concession stand won’t be added until next summer.

The city of Aspen and the school district each chipped in $300,000 for the field, while the remaining funds for the field and the other amenities came from private funds, Sirko said.The whole project has a price tag of about $1.5 million.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com

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