Board considering turf project

Ray Scherer

The Hermann R-1 school board is mulling over a new turf for Bearcat Memorial Stadium.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Smith said the stadium's current turf is in its 16th season of use.

"Typically, turfs are expected to last from eight to 12 years," Smith recently told the Advertiser-Courier.

The fibers in the current turf are "breaking down at a rapid rate," he said. While the turf still looks good, Smith said there's a need for a change, since the overall carpet is becoming slick for anyone to traverse.

"Our field is used all the day," said Smith. That usage includes practices by the high school band, physical education classes, cross country and track teams, and residents. Some locals like to use the track for their walking exercise.

"It's a community field," he said. Youth football and T-ball teams also rely on the facility for their games.

The district is in the process of evaluating turfs used in the nearby area. Smith, board and administrative representatives toured five turfs last Thursday to review each's different qualities. One other turf remains this week on the tour, prior to any recommendations being made to the board, which will decide on a timeline for replacing the turf. An update on the situation is planned for Thursday's regular board meeting.

"We're looking at either replacement for a winter or summer," Smith said. "It's going to come down to timing....This is a project that has been planned for the past eight years."

One other factor will be determining which company or companies are available to do the turf installation, he said. The field's outdated drainage will have to scrutinized as part of the project, and cost estimates will vary depending on coordinating the type of drainage most suitable for the chosen turf. One artist's rendering has been viewed, and more concepts are on tap. There are no firm numbers yet on the replacement, and any estimates will be subject to review and change. But the project is currently pegged at a range of $350,000 to $600,000. The district has been setting funds aside each year for the work.

On another front, the district is considering the potential of advertising placement on the field or fences. Smith said that issue will be further discussed by the board.

"We're looking at upgrading our scoreboard," he added. "It's also 16 years old."

Sponsorships would help pay for stadium and field improvements, according to Smith.

New signage and painting for the high school gym is winding down in a project completely overseen by the Hermann Athletic Boosters Club.