Turf target date Aug. 21 | SteamboatToday.com

Turf target date Aug. 21

Gardner Field in midst of makeover; entrance project planned

Academy Sports Turf's Rigoberto Escobedo pulls a roll of new artificial turf into place at Gardner Field on Monday. Crews began laying the turf Saturday and are targeting an Aug. 21 finish date.
Melinda Mawdsley

— To the side of Gardner Field, a small square – about 2 feet by 2 feet – showed off the finished product.

“Step on it,” Pat Gleason, Steamboat Springs School Board and Education Fund Board member, yelled from the bleachers.

If – as expected – the new full-size artificial turf field is as soft and bouncy beneath the feet as the sample square, Steamboat Springs athletes are in for quite the change when sports begin at the end of the month.

“It’s nice to know it looks like it’s supposed to,” Gleason said.

Workers from Academy Sports Turf began installing the artificial turf field Saturday, working 14 hours Saturday and eight hours Sunday.

On Monday, they continued to lay and glue the synthetic grass.

The football hash marks and yard markers, as well as lines for soccer and lacrosse, still have to be cut, and the field has to be infilled with rubber, but the crew of four men is working hard to finish by Aug. 21, supervisor Fernando Zurita said.

“We are on schedule or a little ahead,” Steamboat Springs Principal Mike Knezevich said. “We are worried a little bit about weather. At the same time, they are working anywhere from eight to 14-hour days. They are also going to bring up a few (additional) guys from Denver.”

Academy Sports Turf is based in Englewood, but the company installs artificial turf surfaces across the country.

Community donors pledged more than half the money needed for the project, clearing the Fund Board to make a $250,000 gift toward the project.

Originally, a plaque was going to hang near the Gardner Field entrance to acknowledge those who contributed to the fund, but that has changed.

Instead, a committee overseeing the artificial turf project decided to move forward with a new entrance to Gardner Field, which will include a granite slab with the donors’ names on one side, and a granite slab explaining the origin of Gardner Field’s name on the other.

The entrance will be halfway between the press boxes and will have a steel arch about 15-feet tall.

Knezevich said several local companies donated labor and supplies.

“It’s kind of a separate project,” Knezevich said. “It’s one of those combined efforts because we have people stepping up to donate.”

Architect Joe Patrick Robbins was contacted several weeks ago about designing the entrance. He had multiple drawings done within the week.

“We got right on it and designed a gate that is somewhat reminiscent of an old-fashioned brick gate to an old playing field – like the entry to Coors Field,” Robbins said.

The facility is scheduled to be ready for Steamboat’s football home opener against Kent Denver on Aug. 26.

Steamboat’s soccer team is scheduled to host Vail Mountain School on Sept. 2.

There also is talk of landscaping the gate near the public access to the all-weather track and laying the leftover turf near that site.

“It’s going to be first class,” Knezevich said about the facility.

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