News Gc Turf Field On Schedule For Fall Start - Garrett College
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Campus News

July 10th, 2023

GC turf field on schedule for fall start

New women's soccer team will be the first Laker squad to play on field

turf field

Garrett College's new multipurpose turf field, currently under construction, is expected to be completed in late August.

One of the most frequently asked questions around Garrett County this summer has been, "What's going on at the Garrett College baseball field?"

Short answer: Quite a lot.

The former baseball field is being transformed into a multi-purpose turf field. The turf field will be home to the Lakers' baseball and softball teams, as well as the new women's soccer program launching this fall under the leadership of head coach Brandon Jackson.

"The turf complex is a game-changer for Garrett College Athletics," said Jackson. "Garrett College will now have one of the nicest outdoor sports turf facilities in the region.

"I'm looking forward to the first inaugural women's soccer match at home under the lights," added Jackson. "This will be a magical night for the entire college. You will not find a better view under the lights in beautiful Western Maryland than watching the Lady Lakers soccer team make history!"

Jackson isn't the only Laker coach looking forward to the field's completion, which is scheduled for late August.

"The addition of the brand-new turf field is exciting for the softball program," said first-year Lakers softball head coach Alex Rohlf. "It shows potential student athletes that we look to give them the best facilities possible. It will allow us to be able to use the field more often for practices as we will not have to wait for a field to dry.

"The ability to get outside on a nice day in February will be awesome," continued Rohlf. "It also allows us to play more home games – without having to constantly watch the weather."

Eric Hallenbeck, co-athletics director and head baseball coach, noted the turf field will benefit both the College and the County.

"Our baseball team won't have to play 75 percent of their games on the road," said Hallenbeck, whose teams have had challenges playing home games in Western Maryland's difficult weather conditions in winter and early spring.

"The turf field will also give the county's softball and baseball programs a back-up field in case their fields are not playable," said Hallenbeck. "Summer camps, tournaments, and possibly a summer collegiate wood bat league would bring more exposure to the county and more people in to visit."

Elizabeth Show, co-athletic director and former softball coach, said the turf field "elevates our athletic programs to a new level."

"We're excited to have all of our sports on campus, including softball, which has played their home games on the Lions Club Field, and our new women's soccer program," said Show. "This turf-complex will provide essential features that are key for recruiting and valuable to student-athlete retention."

The two companies that were most intimately involved in the local high school turf field projects – Grantsville-based Byco Enterprises and Sprinturf of Daniel Island, SC – are also GC's main partners in the College turf field project. Chris Painter, director of campus facilities and capital projects, said GC's facilities staff has been "working closely on a daily basis with BYCO to oversee the project so it meets specifications along with local and state requirements."

While the project is currently running ahead of schedule, Painter said there have been hurdles that needed to be overcome along the way.

"First of all, we've had to keep the campus running throughout such a large project," said Painter. "We've been able to keep things running fairly smoothly. And, while this area is known for hitting quite a bit of rock during construction projects, we have so far been lucky in that regard."

GC Faculties staff is also taking pitching in and removing the 2 old sets of bleachers and constructing 3 new sets of aluminum bleachers. They are also removing the old press box and constructing a new one that is to have a concession area. GC Facilities staff have also taken the lead with trenching for certain utilizes mostly fiber optics (for the lights) and electricity.

As with the high school projects, local government and the county's state legislators played pivotal roles in funding the $3 million initiative.

"The County Commissioners provided $1.75 million in funding over two fiscal years while former Senator [George C.] Edwards and former Delegate [Wendell R.] Beitzel obtained $1 million in special state funding," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College's president. "This project would have been impossible without commissioner and legislative support.

"We're also using state Facilities Renewal Grant funding, as permissible, to complete the project funding," added Midcap.

Portable outfield fencing and baseball mound will permit transition to NJCAA regulation-size baseball, softball, and soccer fields as needed. New seating and press box, along with an improved drainage system, are also project components.

Painter said GC's facilities staff "is pitching in and removing the two old sets of bleachers and constructing three new sets of aluminum bleachers."

"They're also removing the old press box and constructing a new one that will have a concession area," added Painter. "And they've also taken the lead with trenching for certain utilizes, mostly fiber optics – for the lights – and electricity."