Dirt and rocks might be most visible these days at the Shaker Heights High School track and field, but plenty of work is going on.
So much so that officials say the complete renovation is a little ahead of schedule. It is expected to be ready 10 days before the first scheduled activity — a freshman football game on Aug. 23.
"The weather has been great and conducive to construction," Shaker Schools Business Administrator Robert P. Kreiner said.
To this point, most of the work on the nearly $1.9 million project has been performed underground. Since the new field will be comprised of artificial turf, it needed drainage work. The renovation's general contractor, Eastlake-based Great Lakes Crushing, is installing large plastic vessels for water retention. During rainfall, the vessels will hold and gradually release water into the city's storm water system, Kreiner said. Curbing that will separate the field from the track has already been installed.
Inclement weather previously made the field almost unusable, director of communications Peggy Caldwell said.
"Some Saturdays, there will be three contests on the field," Caldwell said. "There's no way you could do that on grass, not even on a good day. The field would be so beat up."
Calhoun, Ga.-based FieldTurf Tarkett is delivering its artificial Revolution product on July 9. It is found on fields from Avon Lake to Foxboro, Mass., where the New England Patriots play.
Kreiner said 2,700 tons of stone has been used just to make the field's base. A layer of sand, rubber balls, exposed grass and cushion will all be underneath the artificial turf that players, coaches and fans will eventually see.
The field will be extended by six or seven feet on each side to accommodate soccer games. The track will have six lanes, and the stadium will receive new fencing.
Great Lakes Crushing was awarded a $1.65 million contract in April to complete the project. Additional costs have been added, including $99,497 for the purchase installation of a new scoreboard from Daktronics Inc.
Though competitions at the stadium will begin with the freshman football game, the official ribbon-cutting event will take place on Sept. 1 in conjunction with the first varsity football game and an alumni reunion.
Kreiner said 87 varsity events will take place at the new stadium between August and November, including football, mens and women's soccer, band practices and field hockey.
"Within an hour of a major downpour, you can still play," Caldwell said. "This is such a great opportunity for all of the teams."