St. Benedict renovating football field, facilities

St. Benedict at Auburndale High School has announced the resurfacing of its football field. The resurfacing is the first phase of a three-phase renovation plan to the entire football facility.

In announcing this renovation project, SBA Athletic Director Caleb Marcum said, “The decision to resurface was based on the needs of a legitimate practice place for not only St. Benedict teams, but also St. Francis Middle School teams. The previous practice space has been a 50 yard by 50 yard area near the tennis courts and a section of property under the TVA power lines. These two practice areas are now insufficient. Another concern was the amount of use the field receives each year. Last year alone, St. Benedict fielded three football teams and a lacrosse team. While St. Francis Middle School fielded two football teams. On average, we have hosted 25 to 30 football games in the fall and 15 to 20 lacrosse games in the spring, thus, causing damage to the natural sod.”

St. Benedict awarded the turf installation bid to Hellas Construction of Austin, Texas. Matrix Turf is supplying a monofilament artificial surface with a sand and black rubber infill. With this type of Cush-drain E-pad surface, the field has a life expectancy of up to at least 17 years without year-to-year maintenance expense that a natural field has.

Artificial turf installed on the football field will allow both SBA and St. Francis teams to practice on a regulation size field without damage to the surface. Research has proven that artificial turf fields are safe and can serve as a viable alternate for a natural grass football field. St. Benedict will also benefit by using the old practice fields as new parking areas in the future. Artificial turf will also allow the school to better serve the community by hosting camps and community events for all ages.

The renovation of the football field should conclude near August 15. In addition to artificial turf, SBA, again, in cooperation with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and A2H, has designed a master plan for our three phase renovation.

Phase 1 not only includes artificial turf, but the renovation of Tully Field House (football field house) to include renovated locker rooms, public restrooms, offices, a training room and an equipment room. Phase 2 of the master plan is the building of a new indoor facility, which will consist of a 50 yard turf field, a state of the art weight room, locker rooms, offices and training rooms. Phase 2 will also consist of a new athletic entrance, parking areas and the expansion of the SBA home stadium seating to 2,300. Phase 3 consists of a state of the art alumni center, concessions, public restrooms and ticket booths.

SBA Principal Sondra Morris said, “We are extremely excited about the future of our athletic facilities. When we built Tully Fieldhouse and enlarged our stadium in the early ’90s, we had a state-of-the-art facility. These facilities have served us well, but with our school expanding to upwards to 1,000 students, our football facilities needed these renovations. We are indebted to the donors who brought us Tully and helped us grow and we are grateful to all those making this new phase in our history happen.”

New SBA Head Football Coach Scott Samsel says he is looking forward to opening day with a superior turf facility.

“SBA indicated that they were looking to enhance our facilities and we’re excited about the beginning of three-phase project,” he said.