High School Sports

New turf field taking shape at McConnell-Talbert Stadium in Warner Robins

WARNER ROBINS -- When Warner Robins football head coach Bryan Way drove to school earlier this summer, he could see and hear the progress.

There was the sight of trucks and loaders and the beeping of them backing up as they dug and dumped and moved earth in the early stages of replacing the grass with artificial turf at McConnell-Talbert Stadium.

The first stage was visible and audible, the group from Precision Turf finishing its job with a field of stones and gravel.

On came Deluxe Athletics of Marietta. And gone was watching and hearing the work get done, but evidence of the work was visible each morning.

That’s because the six-man crew from Deluxe has been working an odd shift in laying down and stitching the turf: from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., under the lights.

“The heat’s so oppressive down here,” said Shaun Remington, the project manager. “Any way I can make it easier for them, I will.”

Remington said this is the third time in his three-plus years with the company that a crew has worked an overnight shift. It won’t be the last.

“We work every day,” Remington said on another day of 95-plus degrees. “This makes a difference.”

After Precision Turf replaced the drainage, renovated assorted track and field locations on the field and put down the new foundation for the field, on came Deluxe to put the carpet down.

The field came with some parts already stitched in: the 5-yard lines and the colors for the end zones.

This part of the process averages three weeks, between adding another part of the foundation, more tweaks to the track areas, putting down the turf, adding the final part of the foundation, which is sand and cork and then painting in yard lines, numbers and the final logos.

Almost a dozen piles of sand and nearly 80 bags of the cork and rubber sat behind and next to the fieldhouse while the other work was done.

Overall, the sand and rubber will cover about 100,000 square feet, about 2 inches deep.

“There’s about 197 tons of (material) that’s going in,” Remington said. “It’s up there.”

And then anticipation will increase, especially as the Aug. 1 completion date gets closer.

Remington said his group worked on a high school field in Tennessee recently. The head coach was the brother of Dallas tight end Jason Witten, and the unveiling turned into an event, including Witten putting on a camp.

As it is, Northside head coach Kevin Kinsler has been a regular visitor, as has Houston County school board director of facilities Scott Hill, among others.

“I go by there around 9 o’clock about every night,” Hill said with a chuckle. “It really looks good.”