Football has always been a favored sport in Craig County Public Schools. It remains that way and families are pleased that the division has coaches again so their kids can play the sport they love.
However, over the last several years, the football field has become more dangerous to kids playing and running on the field.
Coaches Jayke Dowdy and Jimmy Fisher shared that it’s difficult to go several feet anywhere on the field without stepping into a lowered place.
Dowdy shared that he had obtained quotes to redo the field with Bermuda grass.
Football field quotes were: Rock Haven Turf Specialists – $87,350 CLC Inc. – $28,000 does not include Bermuda grass or irrigation, Roanoke Landscape – $173,000.
The coaches reported that Rock Haven was recommended by other schools including Giles, James River, Perry McCluer and Covington, as well as the Salem Red Sox, and others.
The coaches shared that they feel that they now have an “unplayable surface.”
“You can walk the field in a straight line and run in many holes,” Jayke Dowdy shared. “We had multiple kids get hurt last year with severe injuries and feel we are just setting the kids up to get hurt again.”
Superintendent Janet Warwick explained to the Craig County School Board that she wanted to bring it back to the board to see if it can be funded out of the capital account.
Dowdy shared that if they could start in May, it would be ready to go by the end of July.
“The Bermuda grass is proven to be a great surface,” Dowdy said. “The annual care plan would be considered and the biggest issue we currently face is that we have no irrigation on the field.”
“However, Bermuda grass requires 60% less water than traditional grass having a deeper root and provides a better cushion when players fall on the ground,” Dowdy added.
The Public Safety Authority reported that the water table at the field was so good that a well would support it.
The board mentioned an expert well digger in Craig whom Dowdy said he would contact to get a quote.
After much discussion, Warwick reported that the balance in capital fund was $747,196.46.
Marsden said, “If we don’t get on the list to get this done, then we will be just waiting again.”
Dowdy added, “Also, if we cannot have our home games here, then we will not have the revenue that we get at the gates for the teams during every sport.”
The board agreed to go forward with redoing the football field.
“If we save one kid from getting hurt, it will be well worth it,” Darren Gilreth, who represents the Simmonsville District, said. “We have our soccer team, the rec program and some PE classes use it as well.”
The moving of the fence was also discussed.
Dowdy and Fisher reported that some football players are getting harassed by other students and adults. Fans are heckling kids they don’t like. Players are being handed food and expected to join in on conversations during the game, along with other issues.
“It would really help us as a team,” Dowdy said. “Also, we are worried that the natural grass will be affecting the Bermuda on the other side of the fence.”
Fisher added, “If we move the fence, then everything is Bermuda, keeping it from getting contaminated.
It was also addressed that it would help with some of the opposing teams who come onto the field, yelling at the players.
It was stated that they try to keep people off the track, but if the fence was moved, then that would solve the problem, also keeping others off the field when the school isn’t in session, as some people have been seen driving on it, etc.
Fisher added that if they were to allow businesses to put signage for advertising, as other schools do, then the signage would eventually pay for the fence.
Maintenance Director Shane Gills will be working with the coaches on looking at the fence.
A motion was approved to fix the football field from capital funds, as the coaches left with a sigh of relief.
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