First Posted: 8/12/2014
The groundbreaking for artificial turf athletic fields at Dallas High School was tentatively set for Monday as school district officials went the through the final approval and preparation phases last week.
When the project is completed, which appears likely to be midway through the fall sports season, the school’s stadium will have a FieldTurf surface and lighting. The baseball outfield will also be FieldTurf, allowing for another full-sized playing field.
Football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and baseball will all be played on the multi-purpose surface with the softball team picking up the opportunity to hold additional practices during poor weather in the spring.
The football team will be the only one that has to move during the project because the other teams have fields available while the renovation is being done.
“People understand that we’re going to be a little displaced initially,” Dallas superintendent Frank Galicki said Monday, the opening day of practice.
What would have been the football team’s only home scrimmage will be conducted at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22 at Lake-Lehman.
The season opener against Scranton will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Misericordia University.
Galicki said shuttle buses will be arranged from the Dallas school parking lots to alleviate some of the parking congestion at Misericordia.
“People from Scranton and Dallas will be encouraged to use the shuttle buses,” Galicki said.
To make it easier, advance tickets will be made available. That will allow fans stepping off buses to enter the stadium more quickly.
Following two road games, the second Dallas football home game against Wallenpaupack the weekend of Sept. 20 will have to be moved to another location. Those negotiations were already underway last week.
Galicki said the hope is that the stadium will be ready for the sixth week of the football season, a scheduled Oct. 4 home game with Wyoming Valley West.
The football team is using the outfield of the baseball field for practice while work gets started at the stadium.
Field hockey continues to play at the former Middle School football field. Soccer is using a staggered scheduled to get in games and practices at Cleary Field.
“Once we open the stadium up, we’re going to have field hockey there, lacrosse there, soccer there,” Galicki said. “We’re also in the process of starting to talk to advertisers who want to have banners at the new stadium. That would go on the fencing at very advantageous localities.”
There are three steps to the process. The stripping of the field and preparation work will be followed by the placement of the FieldTurf and the lighting project, which is being handled by Musco Lighting.
“The board, the coaches, the athletic department are extremely excited,” Galicki said. “Our community is excited.
“The sky is the limit.”
Galicki said the proper maintenance equipment and plan will be in place to get the expected life out of the turf. FieldTurf is estimated to last 12-15 years before a new surface is needed.