The 2018 November bond election brought the promise of turf to AISD, and after months of waiting, the Abilene High and Cooper baseball and softball fields are finally under construction.
“So far they’ve dug up the whole entire infield, they’ve smoothed it out, they’ve brought in lots of dirt,” Cooper softball coach Stacey Herring said. “I’ve been watching what they’ve been doing to the football portion over there, they’ve put down the plastic, they still have the plastic gravel and then the turf on top with the drainage underneath, so we have, as you can see, just a little bit more work to do but we have a good start on it.”
In addition to the new football turf practice fields for both high schools, Abilene High and Cooper baseball and softball fields will have new turf infields and lights ready for their 2019-2020 season.
“It’s going to go pretty quickly once they get to putting down the chat and rolling the turf and tarp and everything else out, so it’s going to go pretty quickly and we’re excited about it,” Abilene High baseball coach Lee Fletcher said. “We’re excited about what’s fixing to be happening here in AISD and especially Abilene High.”
“This is very exciting, you know it’s actually been in the talks since I got here four years ago, it’s something that we wanted to do,” Cooper baseball coach Cody Salyers said. “After the election in November where we knew that it actually passed and that they were going to do it, we’ve been excited to see them break ground right when school was ending and that was awesome.”
“So now that it’s summer, I’ve spent most of my summer coming out here and checking on the progress and seeing what the guys are doing.”
The last two years have been some of the rainiest years on record here in the Big Country, and having the option to work out on the turf even with inclement weather is a huge plus for these teams.
“With the rains coming in as much as they have this year, there’s been times that we haven’t had anywhere to practice,” Coach Herring said. “This is going to be so beneficial for us to be able to have a playing field throughout the whole year.”
“We’ve kind of been at a disadvantage of missing practice days, missing a lot of work in the fall because the field wasn’t ready. Whenever we did have rain you had to wait several days until you could get on, now it’s one of those it could rain in the morning and we could be on it that afternoon,” Coach Salyers said.
On top of the ability to play on the turf year round, the new construction will also be a big motivator for these athletes.
“It’s really a big pride thing for the kids, it’s something that they’ll work extra hard while they’re out here and they’ll take pride in their facilities and that’s a big thing for kids who are 15-18 years old,” Coach Fletcher said.
The turf for the baseball and softball fields is scheduled to be completed by November, the football turfs should be done by the start of two-a-days in August.