After approving a $621,204 contract to replace the aging football field at Eagle High School with synthetic turf, the West Ada School District in Meridian, Idaho, is facing delays that threaten the first home games scheduled for August 24 and 25 at Thunder Stadium.
The original turf was installed at the site in 2006, and upon safety inspections failed to meet industry standards last year, forcing the district to make repairs prior to play for the 2017 season. West Ada entered into contract with Sprinturf in April.
The contract outlined a construction timeline that would see the new field completed by August 4, after which Sprinturf would owe a $1,000 penalty for each day it goes over. As of Friday, the late charges had risen to a total of $8,000.
According to West Ada spokesperson Eric Exline, the base layer of rock and gravel currently covering the field is too soft for Sprinturf to successfully install synthetic turf over the top. Compaction issues with this supporting layer are causing continued delays and safety concerns.
“The problem with that is if you put turf on it, that subfill moves and you can get dents, holes,” said Exline. “The turf just won’t hold up the way that it should over the life of 10 to 12 years.” For now, the new synthetic turf remains rolled up in the parking lot.
Exline told the Idaho Statesman, unless Sprinturf and subcontractor Capital Paving can fix the gravel base in the next two weeks, the district will be looking for another school to host Eagle’s opening games.
“In order for the turf to get down, the compaction of the top layer needs to be corrected by, I would say, early to middle of next week, or there won’t be enough time to lay the turf,” said Exline. “Even then, they would have to do it with a pretty aggressive time schedule, not just 8-5. You’d have to put more time into it.”