TOME — The new synthetic turf being installed on the Valencia High School football field is expected to be ready for the season opener on Aug. 19.
Tiffany Gutierrez, the supervisor of construction management for Los Lunas Schools, says that barring unexpected circumstances the turf will be in place for the first game against Alamogordo.
Crews are expected to start laying the turf Aug. 1, with the completion scheduled for Aug. 18, the day before the first game.
Gutierrez says they anticipate only one junior varsity football home game on Aug. 27 will need to be rescheduled because crews will be installing a new running track surface around the football field.
The track project will begin soon after the first football game. The track instillation needs to be completed during warm weather because the quality of the surface could be negatively impacted if the temperature drops too low, said Gutierrez.
The turf and track projects have been combined for cost savings and were slowed because of supply-chain issues.
Removing the natural grass in favor of the synthetic turf has several benefits, according to Wilson Holland, director of athletics for Los Lunas Schools.
The new turf will allow the football team to practice in the stadium, freeing up their current practice field for other uses.
In addition, Holland says that a well used to water the gridiron grass went down for a time, forcing the maintenance staff to use water from the New Mexico Service system instead, which Holland says is expensive.
Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.