Working on the field

Jeremy Lohr, who works for Astro Turf, steamrolls the new turf that was installed at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.

BOONE — The Appalachian State soccer programs will have new turf on which to compete against visiting Sun Belt opponents. So will High Country Soccer Association and members of the Watauga Parks and Recreation Department.

Field 2 at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex, the same field that Appalachian State uses for its home matches, is getting new turf installed. The field, put in by Astro Turf of Dalton, Ga., could be ready for use by the end of the week.

The cost of $411,000 will be split evenly between the three organizations, or $137,000 each. The agreement to replace the turf was finalized May 7.

“We own the facility and ASU and High Country Soccer Association are partners with that facility,” Watauga Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Poulos said. “The three entities are replacing the ASU field turf and somewhere in the next five years we will probably replace the (other field). There are two fields there.”

Three companies made bids on the project and Astro Turf was awarded the bid on Field 2. The new turf replaces the old turf, which is more than 10 years old and has seen plenty of wear and tear. Both App State’s soccer teams practice and play games on the field as do teams from the High Country Soccer Association.

Appalachian State Senior Associate Athletics Director for Internal Operations Jonathan Reeder said the field needed to be switched to comply with the standard expected for a program that plays Division I soccer.

Appalachian State will host the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Championships in the fall. It is the second time App State will host the event, having first hosted in 2015.

“It was just time for it to be replaced,” Reeder said.

Reeder said Appalachian State has a good relationship with Watauga County and with HCSA and all agreed that a new surface was needed. No plans were made to make any other major improvements to the facility within the year.

“There hasn’t been any discussion about the lighting at this point,” Reeder said. “Ultimately we continue to, as partners with High Country Soccer and Watauga County, to talk about the complex and how it can be the best it can be.”

Reeder said no concrete plans were made for any minor enhancements, but that could change if needed.

“We discuss every year different issues with the facility and if it needs to be updated,” Reeder said. “The turf obviously is a big part of that facility this coming year.”

Appalachian State’s men’s soccer and women’s soccer schedules have not been released, but both teams are likely to start their regular seasons in early August. The field is close to completion and will be ready well before App State takes the field. Reeder felt the new turf has a good chance to last as long as the last one due to improvements in the industry.

“Obviously the turf made a decade ago was relatively new,” Reeder said. “They’re all over the place now, but it’s a pretty good lifespan for that.”

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