Turf field on track

Completion planned for mid-August, project supporters say

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The new turf field at Steamboat Springs High School is on track for completion next month, project supporters say.

"Our drop-dead date (for field readiness) is Aug. 22," said Pat Gleason, a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board and the city's Education Fund Board. Gleason said last week that the turf has been ordered and should arrive in less than a month. Installing the turf will take about three weeks, Gleason said.

The home opener for varsity football is Saturday, Aug. 26, against Kent Denver. Varsity boys soccer has its first home game Sept. 2 against Vail Mountain School.

The School Board approved installment of an artificial turf surface on Gardner Field at a meeting May 15, by accepting a $250,000 gift from the Fund Board. That gift was designed to match funds raised by the community to meet the $500,000 estimated total cost of the project.

Community donors have exceeded the $250,000 pledged. More than 100 donors already have raised the money, with donations still coming in, fund organizer John Centner said.

"When this community gets behind a project, it makes it happen," said Centner, a partner with Steamboat Motors. Centner is leading the community fundraising effort with youth soccer coach Rick Garth and high school football coach Aaron Finch.

Centner said more donations are needed in case unexpected costs arise during the field's installation, for the purchase of equipment to maintain the field, and as "seed money" for a replacement turf field in the future.

"There has never been a (construction) job, in my recollection, that came in on budget," Centner said Monday. "We want a little bit of a cushion."

Dave Hieronymus of DLH Architecture, LLC, a Castle Rock company, is leading installation of the field. Hieronymus said Monday that the estimated total cost, at this point, is $466,200. The field is scheduled to be completed Aug. 15, he said.

Hieronymus said he has installed about 40 turf fields across Colorado. This summer, he is working on turf fields at Stutler Bowl for Cherry Creek High School, and at Shea Stadium in Highlands Ranch.

Things are going smoothly so far in Steamboat, he said.

Fund Board member Michael Loomis said that if the school district decides not to spend all of the $250,000 gifted -- a possibility if the project is completed under budget or with high community donations -- then some of that gift could return to the Fund Board, which receives revenue from a citywide, half-cent sales tax.

"The wording is 'up to' $250,000," Loomis said. "And that wording is true with any gift, not just this one."

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