Turf opener delayed 2 weeks

By on August 20, 2014

Ephrata High’s new turf won’t be ready for Sept. 5 home opener

Ephrata High School’s scheduled Sept. 5 game against Cocalico was supposed to showcase the Mount’s new synthetic turf before a full house and a cast of invited former players.Turf

But Superintendent Dr. Brian Troop said that’s not going to happen.

“The vision of playing the Mountaineer football home opener on the new War Memorial Field turf playing surface on Sept. 5 will not become a reality,” Troop said this morning.

Troop met Tuesday afternoon with the building contractor and turf manufacturer Sprinturf. He said problems with unanticipated rock pushed back the completion of the project.

“We have reached the point where we have to recognize that the amount and depth of rock at the site was greater than anticipated. The rock along with weather conditions extended the timeline for completion,” Troop said.

The Sept. 5 game will be played at Cocalico, which had always been the contingency plan.

“Our AD and the Cocalico AD had an ongoing conversation about playing the game at Cocalico if there was a delay,” Troop said. “Delays are always a possibility when you’re doing construction.”

Despite having Spinturf employees and construction crews working overtime, the delay is unavoidable, Troop said. The district believed the project was even a week ahead of schedule as recently as late July.

“Testing done prior to construction only identifies where there’s rock,” Troop said. “The depth and amount of rocks you don’t know until you start chipping away at it. We knew where there was rock but it turned out to be deeper and more solid than anticipated.”

The delay pushed back Ephrata’s home opener to Friday Sept. 19 against  Northern Lebanon.

Troop said the delay and possible change-orders should not increase the cost of the $1.4 million project nor a $1 million pledge from an anonymous donor which spearheaded the plan.

He dismissed reports that crews were not working on nights as had been promised to expedite the project.

“Sometimes you’re waiting on electrical lines that need to be taken care of,” Troop said.  “Sometimes weather, mud or other related things that didn’t allow us to access areas. There’s been plenty of overtime and long hours being put into this project.”

Ephrata is scheduled to play its opening game Aug. 29 at Conestoga Valley, which is also installing new turf this summer.

That project is on schedule according to CV but there is a contingency plan to play its game with Ephrata at Warwick if need be.

In the end, the delay won’t be so bad said Troop, who noted that the Sept. 19 game is Hall of Fame night.

“We will have two great reasons to celebrate on Friday, Sept. 19 as we induct the members of the 2014 Ephrata High School Athletic Hall of Fame and debut the new turf.

“The evening will give everyone the opportunity to reflect on the rich history of Mountaineer athletics and enjoy being part of the next chapter with the debut of the new turf surface,” Troop said.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer and editor for The Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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