EAGLE - Back in the spring, the West Ada School District approved the funds to install a new playing surface at one of their oldest high school fields.
"After a while you need to replace the material because it's reached its practical life," explained West Ada School District spokesperson Eric Exline.
Yes, Thunder Stadium over at Eagle High School was finally going to get new artifical turf.
But two weeks before their 2017 home-opener, the Mustangs $500,000 football field is currently a big patch of dirt and rocks, and far from finished.
According to the West Ada School District, the project was supposed to be completed by August 4.
"We don't know it's completion date," stated Exline. "That's what we're pressing for that everyday."
The timeline is on rocky grounds because the school district is questioning the integrity of the work that has been done. This isssue is the foundation that would lay beneath the turf, and the safety of those who would play on top of it.
"We have an independent civil engineer. They independently will go measure the level of compaction and also test other things," said Exline. "It's too soft when you walk on in. It should be like concrete, practically. We can't put the turf down until that's corrected."
The options for correcting it are limited; either wait for the surface to harden, or redo the work that has already been done.
"SprintTurf is paying $1,000 a day in liquidated damages, because it's beyond when it's suppose to be done," detailed Exline about the company the school district contracted the project out to.
While SprinTurf weighs their options, the Mustangs football team has been forced to practice at make-shift football field on the north side of campus.
"It's obviously not ideal. We would prefer to be on the turf. It allows us to practice faster and more succinct," said Eagle head football coach Paul Peterson.
The delay could also affect the Mustangs season-opener. They are scheduled to host Mountain View, the defending 5A state champions, on Friday, August 25. New Eagle High athletic director Scott Criner has already began looking for an alternate options though.
"We're talking right now with the district about moving those games to other fields or other locations," said Criner. "Maybe playing over at Mountain View or using another field in the district, either Meridian High School or Rocky Mountain High School."
With just 14 days to get the problem fixed, even if the field is not hardening, the timeline before kickoff certainly is, and hope of getting it done before the first game is wearing thin.
"Right now the scramble is to get that compacted appropriately, so then we can get the turf material on top. We have two weeks to get that done," said Exline. "As this point we have our fingers crossed and we're hopeful."
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