Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles is a believer in the values of having a turf field.
While playing on grass since the early 70s at the BHS Sports Complex, the adminstration along with Shikles decided the time was right back in 2009 to install a turf field.
As it turned out, the turf field got a lot more attention once installed with 72 events alone schedule during the first year. Fast forward 10 years later and now the field, which was recently named Gene Reagan Field, is in need of a face lift.
ATG Sports, which installed the RamTurf, has also been contracted to take up the old turf and replace with a more improved form of RamTurf.
“The turf field has gone above and beyond what we expected as far as usage goes,” Shikles said. “We play games on it, we practice on it, we allow youth soccer to use it, we allow youth football to use it so our expectations of that field exceeded what we had originally thought. It has definitely been worth the investment.”
Shikles said like anything the turf has a lifeline. He said the turf fields aren’t indestructible and there is not a lifetime situation with them.
“We knew eventually we would have to replace it, and here we are right on schedule to have it replaced and put down a new turf field,” Shikles said.
Of course ATG Sports is no stranger to the Boonville R-I School District. In addition to the football field, ATG Sports also got the bid for the high school ballfield to install turf on the infield.
Shikles said ATG Sports will spend about a week tearing out the old turf and reclaiming the rubber infill and then will come in and grade the subgrade and get it back to level to make sure there are no dips or humps on the field.
“Once they are done with all of that, they will start putting down the new turf,” Shikles said. “We are getting the top of the line turf this time. But it’s kind of like a cell phone, as soon as buy it the next version comes out. We are looking for durability of this turf versus our old turf and allowing as much usage as we’ve had in the past.”
Shikles said back when Boonville first added turf, they were ahead of the game. Now it’s become the norm, he said, to get a turf field.
“We get multiple calls and contacts around the state about putting in turf,” Shikles said. “It’s the wave of the future and we got on board a long time ago.”
Boonville will also save in the long run by installing the new turf. Shikles said once you have your base down and all your curbing around the outside, all you are literally replacing is the surface.
“We are excited to get it down,” Shikles said. “The kids are excited as well. It will be a pride thing for our kids and our community. We worked with ATG Sports on the design. We looked at multiple fields and different designs that we liked so with their design department we came up with the design for the field.”
As far as more injuries or fewer injuries on turf, Shikles said it’s hard to gauge.
“Obviously when you are talking about concerns over concussions, that certainly benefits the reductions in concussions when you are talking about a lot softer surface once a head makes contact with that surface. I know it’s a lot better than making contact with a natural field.”
Hopefully the field will be installed by the time the Boonville Pirates football team and Boonville Pirates soccer team open fall practice on Monday, August 6th.
In the meantime, ATG Sports will be working non-stop to replace the old with the new.