BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER— Crews were busy this week stitching, cutting and gluing the new turf field at Kazmaier Stadium.
Named “Chapman Field,” the turf honors George Chapman, a 1965 MHS graduate who generously donated $250,000 to the Panther Pride Foundation to help fund the new field.
“It’s very durable. The return on investment is very good,” said Brad Morrison of Maumee Bay Turf Center, the company installing the field. He was leading a group of 20, primarily Maumee City Schools staff members, on a Monday morning tour of the field.
“Virtually there is no maintenance to it. There is zero phosphorus and it slows drainage, so it really helps on a lot of avenues,” he said.
The company has installed over 100 turf fields, from the NFL to universities to high school campuses, and Morrison insists the fields are safer than traditional grass fields.
“It’s safer because it’s more consistent – it’s not wet one day and then hard the next day,” he said.
The field costs approximately $650,000 and takes 30 days to install. The 15-foot panels made of polyethylene are sewn together to decrease stress on the seams. A sand and rubber product is also applied over the turf to fill it in, making it softer and able to absorb shock, and the numbers and hash marks are glued down on the field.
More students will use the new field, said Assistant Superintendent Steve Lee, who has been overseeing the entire project. It’s one of many improvements taking place at the renovated stadium.
Phase One of the construction project, which is expected to be completed this fall, will cost $1.8 million, with $1.2 million raised privately and $600,000 generated from the district’s permanent improvement funds. Other work includes a two-story Panther Den and spirit store with an area to host special events such as class reunions, a new ADA-compliant restroom and upgrades to the existing restrooms. The home locker room and team room will also be renovated and the stands are being coated with a material that will make them easier to walk up and down.
The foundation would like to raise an additional $1.1 million to complete Phase Two of the project, which includes a new parking lot on the home side and finishing the visitor side and visitor gateway.
“We need your support,” said Sarah Otis, director of Development and Alumni Relations for the Maumee City Schools’ Panther Pride Foundation. “This is not just a school asset, this is going to be a community asset, if you can imagine what this will do for the community in general. It’s a great place for families to raise their kids and for business, too,” she said.
According to Superinten-dent Dr. Todd Cramer, the district took an aggressive, but conservative, approach to the project.
“We didn’t want to start something that we couldn’t finish. We knew going in what we had going in, what we had in donations, and what we could accomplish this summer, and we’re looking forward to getting it phased in and finishing it out.”
The district will host a ribbon-cutting at the stadium on Wednesday, August 15 at 5:30 p.m. and the first home football game is Friday, September 7.