By John R. Schirmer
“It’s all taking shape,” Superintendent Doug Graham said Monday afternoon about the installation of artificial turf at Scrapper Stadium.
Crews from Symmetry Turf began laying the green carpet Saturday afternoon. They worked day and night through the weekend, and by Monday morning the field was covered from the south end zone to the north 30-yardline.
More rolls of turf were to arrive Tuesday after they were inadvertently left out of an earlier shipment.
Once the playing field is covered, turf will be installed from the sidelines over to the track.
If things go according to plan, “We expect to be totally green by the end of the week,” Graham said.
The project is actually running ahead of schedule, Graham said. “We thought the turf would come off the line July 11 and ship by July 15. It actually came off the line July 7 and was here on July 8, a week early.”
Workers will cut out numbers, hash marks, sponsor logos and the Scrapper Star as they get ready to wrap up the project.
The first 5-yard roll was placed at the 50-yardline. Workers pulled it into place, then put down the next roll and sewed the two together. The process was repeated throughout the weekend.
“Each day, we can see more of the color scheme,” Graham said. “When we get the orange letters in the endzone, it will look really good.”
Endzones will black with the 15-foot orange letters spelling out “Nashville” in the south endzone and “Scrappers” in the north.
“I can’t say enough about the crews from Symmetry Turf and their work ethic. They’ve been here lots of days at 5 a.m. and stayed late. Friday night before the turf came, the dirt crew worked until 5 a.m. Saturday to be ready when the installation crew came. They’ve worked 7 days a week, 12-14 hours a day.”
The weather has cooperated with the installation, according to Graham. Now that the turf is on much of the field, “Symmetry says we could use a little rain now.”
When rain does come, the field will drain quickly, Symmetry officials say. “They told us that we could get 10 inches in less than an hour, and it would never puddle up.”
Along with the 40-foot Scrapper Star and other markings, the field will be lined off for soccer, Graham said.
“Soccer is getting a lot of consideration. We’ll decide when to implement it. The field will come with the lines. Soccer will be on the school board’s agenda in the near future,” Graham said.
Two other projects are also underway at the stadium, and a third is nearing completion between the fieldhouse and high school building.
The bandstand continues to go up, Graham said. “In the next week, we’ll see metal on the top and sides, then they’ll put in the aluminum.”
The bandstand is a joint project between the Band Boosters and the school district. It will be covered and will accommodate 75 band members.
Work will begin this week on the new visitors bleachers, Graham said. Crews “will be here for the foundation this week. We’ll start to see some progress. The steel will ship next week.”
All of the stadium projects are expected to be completed by early August.
In addition to the work at the stadium, the school district is putting in a new drainage ditch near the high school. “It’s about 75 percent done. When it’s finished, it will correct that drainage issue.”
Graham found out recently that another project will not be needed in the near future. He asked Symmetry to inspect the turf in the 13-year-old Scrapper Dome. Graham, Athletic Director James “Bunch” Nichols and Coach Mike Volarvich took a Symmetry representative to the Dome, where he looked over the turf and said there’s no immediate need to replace it.
“He told Coach V that it’s good for another 2 to 4 years. Being out of the sunlight helped preserve it,” Graham said. The Symmetry representative told Volarvich, “Coach, I could sell you the turf, but I couldn’t look you in the eye after I did it. This will be good 2-4 years.”
When the installation is complete at Scrapper Stadium, Symmetry will groom the playing field as the last step in the process. The company will also groom the turf in the Dome, Graham said.