Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

March 12, 2013

Lowndes’ Martin Stadium receiving new field turf

VALDOSTA — Lowndes’ Martin Stadium is currently unusable, and wil remain that way for the next three weeks, as maintenance crews work to replace what was described as a “bad batch” of field turf.

Installed four years ago, according to Lowndes athletic director Randy McPherson, the current field turf inside Martin Stadium was ruled defective and began to wear down quicker than school officials expected. The field started to become unplayable.

“You could tell it was coming up,” McPherson said. “It doesn’t really look like there is anything wrong with it right now, but the top fibers just weren’t holding up.”

As a result, the school contacted the maker of the field turf, a company known as Field Turf — the largest turf distributor in the country. Upon speaking with the company, Lowndes administration was informed the Vikings’ field was covered under warranty and that the school would be receiving a new field for no additional cost.

“We learned in conversations with the company that they had some faulty fiber,” Lowndes Superintendent Wes Taylor said. “They made a decision it was at a point that is was worthy of replacement through insurance.”

With the stadium turf being unplayable for the coming weeks, the Lowndes soccer teams have been displaced in the midst of their seasons. School officials say the teams will only miss three to four games at home and will be able to play the remainder of their games, likely after spring break, back inside Martin Stadium.

In the meantime, Lowndes’ soccer teams are forced to play on the road and at VSU’s soccer complex, which was made available by Blazer head coach Mel Heinz.

“They were ready to come and honor their warranty, so we didn’t have a choice,” McPherson said, when asked of the soccer teams. “The soccer teams get to play at VSU. We are lucky they let us play there.”

Lowndes’ field wasn’t the only one affected by the bad batch. Camden County’s Chris Gilman Stadium will also be receiving new turf prior to the 2013 season, says McPherson.

“They have fields all around the country,” McPherson said. “They have several that they installed during that time frame that did this. Field Turf is a really big company. They got the (Georgia) Dome, a lot of NFL stadiums.”

Once the new turf is installed inside Martin Stadium, fans will see minor changes in the paint design. While the end zones will remain the same and the mid-field logo will still feature the Viking logo, some additional crimson paint will be added on the coaches box on the home sideline.

Lowndes football opens spring practice May 1 and will hold its spring game May 16.

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