The West Ada School District paid $621,204 for a new artificial turf field at Eagle High, a field scheduled to be ready in time for football practice.
Instead, Thunder Stadium sits covered in rock and gravel, and rolls of new turf rest in Eagle’s parking lot a week into practice and two weeks before the season opener.
Compaction problems with the gravel layer that supports the field have created safety concerns and construction delays. West Ada spokesman Eric Exline said the layer is too soft, preventing Sprinturf from installing the synthetic turf on top of it.
“The problem with that is if you put turf on it, that subfill moves and you can get dents, holes,” Exline said. “The turf just won’t hold up the way that it should over the life of 10 to 12 years.”
Eagle opens the 2017 season at home with a freshman game against Mountain View on Aug. 24, followed by the varsity team’s opener Aug. 25 against the Mavericks, the defending 5A state champs and a district rival.
Unless Sprinturf and subcontractor Capital Paving, which did the gravel work, can fix the base soon, Exline said the district will have to find another location for Eagle’s season opener, likely another district high school.
“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,” Exline said. “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.”
Meridian football hosts Centennial on Aug. 25, and Rocky Mountain has a home boys soccer game scheduled that night. The grass fields at Centennial and Mountain View are both free Aug. 25.
The West Ada School District approved the $621,204 contract with Sprinturf in April to replace the aging field at Eagle. Originally installed in 2006, the field at Thunder Stadium failed two industry safety tests last year, forcing the district to make repairs before letting the Mustangs back onto the field.
The contract required substantial completion of Eagle’s field by Aug. 4 or else the district would charge Sprinturf $1,000 for every day it’s late. As of Friday, those charges are up to $8,000.
Sprinturf also installed a new field at Meridian last summer for $592,491. Exline said the base layer at Meridian passed all of its tests.