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Local

Home turf war

People huddle in to get hands on old football field turf

There’s a turf war developing at H.A. Lynn Stadium.

Ever since the Newton Community School District Board of Education passed a resolution allowing people to take samples of the old football field turf — which is now in the process of being replaced — the traffic to H.A. Lynn Stadium has increased dramatically this past week.

Folks are taking away turf by the truckloads. Jack Suttek, the maintenance supervisor for the school district, is surprised by turnout of the giveaway. Acknowledging the community was interested in acquiring some of the old turf, Suttek imagined people would want smaller patches to take home; instead, they took entire rolls of the material.

One semi-truck reportedly packed about 21 rolls of turf into its trailer. People were evidently excited to get their hands on the old turf. Jeff Versteegh, a maintenance technician for the school district, said he noticed one man was waiting outside the gates four days in the row with a trailer and skid loader.

Suttek recalled semis lining up along West Fourth Street South. The Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District, he said, took turf to line their batting cages. Other folks wanted to lay down some pieces in their yards or roll out a large slab in front of their campers to set up chairs and tables.

“We’ve had some people say they want to put it down in their kids’ play areas, too,” Suttek said. “I never expected to see the commercial side of it. I never expected to see semis out here. I expected people to be out here saying, ‘Can I get a 10-by-6, please?’ But this is great.”

Suttek estimated the old turf roughly measured somewhere between 45,000 to 60,000 square feet. Although the school district is giving away the turf at no cost, there are some sections that are staying put. The cardinal logo that was in the middle of the field, for instance, is staying with the school district and could be used for a different project.

Replacing the field has been a fairly fast process. Crews stored bags full of artificial turf infill — tiny black rubber pellets that cover the field and cushion any impact — to reuse for the newly installed field, which will be utilized by the school district’s football, soccer and track teams. Suttek anticipates new infill will be mixed in with what was extracted from the old field.

Ed Ergenbright, head football coach, regularly maintained the old field, and he expects he will do the same by the time the new one is installed. Likening the process to mowing, Ergenbright said the maintenance process is relaxing for him and it makes the field look good for spectators and function well for student athletes.

The Newton Daily News previously reported the old field had expired and needed to be replaced. Originally installed in 2008, the field turf had since begun to tear and wear down with age. As expected, Ergenbright is excited for the new field to be installed this month.

“It’s the number one piece of safety equipment that our school system has invested in,” he said. “You have to play on it daily and play your games on it and you really begin to appreciate what an awesome product it is. It’s very fast and safe and softer than natural grass.

“... I think it’s really cool for our kids and people in Newton can take pride in the field. It’ll be an exciting fall for the football program and then again in the spring for our soccer kids.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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