By Darriell Rhodes
In only two weeks, 95 percent of Hutchinson Community College’s football field has been re-vamped.
First it was stripped of its old synthetic turf, which was rolled up and shipped off to be cleaned, reconditioned and then sold to another stadium.
The field in Gowans then received a new drainage system and its white rock sub-base was examined, packed and leveled.
About that time, the new Astroturf arrived, in big rolls, in white plastic bags nearly as big as four-door sedans.
Crews with special machines and lifts began transporting the new turf to the stadium and rolling it out, in five-yard-wide strips, the width of the field.
The crews were hampered, at times, by the fast-changing weather, ranging from shirtsleeve temperatures and robin-egg-blue skies, to skin-freezing, raw, gusting north winds and blowing snow.
In recent days, with warmer weather and the return of blue skies, the workers were moving fast and they extended their hours into the evenings, working under the bright glow of all the stadium lights.
On Feb. 25, workers on the field still were confident that the project would be done in another 10 days, according to a Sports Construction worker who gave his name only as “Chris.”
“This has been the only day when more than half of the things that needed to be done were completed,” Chris said.
“The new logo has been put down and the finishing touches are being made in both end zones,” he said.
The cost of replacing the turf was $687,000, according to Dr. Carter File, president of Hutchinson Community College.
The old turf was installed after the expansion and construction of Gowans Stadium in 2004. The synthetic turf was expected to last eight or nine years.
It lasted 11 seasons, but was beginning to show some wear and tear, according to HCC employees.