Turf project begins at War Memorial

By on July 1, 2014
Photo by Preston Whitcraft A water retention tube spans the outfield of War Memorial Field’s baseball diamond. The tube will help retain any water run-off during the construction phase of the War’s turf field project.

Photo by Preston Whitcraft
A water retention tube spans the outfield of War Memorial Field’s baseball diamond. The tube will help retain any water run-off during the construction phase of the War’s turf field project.

The potential for delay in starting the artificial turf project at War Memorial Field was perhaps imminent.

But work will begin this morning, according to Brian Troop, Ephrata Area School District superintendent.

The construction plan received final approval last week from Ephrata Borough.

It is the first project that falls under the new stormwater management ordinance, said Nancy Harris, Ephrata Borough planning and engineering manager.

Adopted in May, the new rules require any project disturbing more than 5,000 square feet of land to file a full stormwater management plan.

That process — which included plans to cover both the football and baseball fields — could have been drawn out for weeks but the borough was aware of the deadlines facing the district, Harris said.

“So we had to get some things established along the way, the new procedures, and some of our new documentation we needed to execute – it’s been a tight time frame but we tried to keep things moving for the school district,” Harris said.

The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the Ephrata Mountaineers opening home football game Sept. 5 against Cocalico.

There are also stipulations from an anonymous donor who pledged $1 million to the district that will offset the bulk of the $1.4 million cost to install artificial turf on War Memorial Field.

“We knew the school district had the $1 million donation and had some time constraints with that so we certainly wanted to help the school district so they could take advantage of the very gracious donation,” Harris said.

The process begins with staging and erosion control where workers will dig about two feet of soil which will be trucked to a storage site at farmland the district owns off South Market Street.

“The drainage field for the water that goes through the synthetic surface runs into a piping system underneath the turf,” Troop said. “It will get filled in with a couple layers of stones.”

That process will take a few weeks before the actual synthetic turf is applied.

The turf manufacturer, Sprinturf of Atlanta, Ga., is also the general contractor and has workers available 12 hours per day six days per week.

“Having the manufacturer do the install generally leads to a quality work because they know what makes their product perform best,” Troop said.

The district provided the additional financing for the project from $400,000 in capital projects funds.

“No new taxes were required, Kristee Reichard, district business manager, said. “We have money in our capital projects fund for things just like this.”

The baseball field will be the first in the county with synthetic turf. The contract with Sprinturf covers turf replacement for “high use” areas.

Sections such as the batters box and bases areas on the baseball field will be replaced every three years.

“They will be replaced three times in the first 10 years,” Troop said.

That’s important, Troop said, because baseball players continue to wear metal cleats. Though Ephrata will request that players don’t use metal cleats, they will never prevent anyone from wearing them.

“But as for our team, players can wear metal cleats in games but will use plastic spikes in practice,” Troop said. “Most teams these days have two sets of spikes because they play on multiple surfaces including indoor arenas.”

A camera recording time-lapse images of the work from the top of the home bleachers is already online at www.easdpa.org.

Anyone wishing to donate to the project can do so directly on the site.

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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