staff photo by alexander simone
Gravel and goal posts are all that remain of Joel H. Wiens football field in Hillsboro. New turf arrives for installation Thursday.
Hillsboro getting 2nd batch of artificial turf
After a decade of football and soccer games, Joel H. Wiens Stadium in Hillsboro is getting a new field.
Removal of old artificial turf field started May 28, but planning started years prior, said Robert Rempel, athletic director at Hillsboro High School.
“We built a contingency for gradual replacement of different things,” he said. “Anything from high jump mats and the hurdles to sound systems, scoreboard, turf, and track, it’s all built into a schedule of replacement.”
The field’s warrantee was for eight years, but the goal was to make it last 10, Rempel said.
“It needed a lot of repairs already,” he said. “People looking from the stands might not have seen it, but those working out there knew there were things starting to deteriorate.”
The $400,000 to $500,000 price will be split between Hillsboro High School and Tabor College, which jointly own the stadium.
“It’s pretty important because you have to have a plan for something that costs this much,” said Marlin Janzen, Tabor’s sports facilities specialist. “It’s not something you just come up with or do fundraisers for.”
Maintenance is especially important since the field is used by sports teams each fall for football and soccer, Janzen said.
“They said it was in pretty good condition for how much it was being used,” he said. “It was well taken care of.”
One advantage to starting the project right after the school year is that it will be finished well before fall sports. Completion is scheduled for this month, Janzen said.
Fiber type and height, use of rubber and sand for the base, and how many strands were needed per inch were decided after Tabor and Hillsboro representatives visited several athletic fields in Missouri and Kansas to find the most suitable option, Rempel said.
The popularity of turf fields remains strong because of decreased injury threat, Janzen said.
“The trend is to go that way if you can afford it,” he said. “There are fewer injuries than on grass because it’s a little softer surface.”
The contractor, Hellas Construction, a Texas-based company, has built turf fields for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Tech University, Kansas Wesleyan University, and Butler Community College.