Artificial turf project half complete at Roxana (with 5 photos)

ROXANA – The Charles Raich field on Roxana High is getting a new look these days. There is no grass on the venerable old playing field and layers of gravel are being removed in anticipation of two new artificial turf pitches for soccer and football.

You wouldn’t recognize the place.

And Shells Sporting Director Mark Briggs couldn’t be happier when the construction project for two AstroTurf fields hit center this week.

“We’re ready for the next chapter of the Shell Nation,” quipped Briggs. “There’s a lot going on at the moment. It is exciting.”

This hustle and bustle takes place in what Briggs likes to call “the new and improved Shells Sports Complex”.

Construction crews are laying gravel on the field this week as part of the next phase of the project.

“AstroTurf is the company that installs the turf,” said Briggs. “You have just been named Lawn Company of the Year.”

Byrne & Jones Construction in Bridgeton, Missouri, is carrying out the site work.

In addition to the fields themselves, park work is also planned.

“We’re working with Roxana’s mayor to renovate the street at the south end of the complex,” said Briggs. “The street will serve as a parking lot for the community.

“Both grass fields are currently about halfway through and we are now ordering team benches, a new sled for the soccer team and new goals for the soccer team.”

Briggs said the east and south fence lines near the location of the soccer field were cleared this week. The soccer field will be 75 meters wide and 120 meters long.

The project fees include the lighting of the football field, but not the new scoreboard and grandstands. Briggs ran a fundraiser for this one.

After preparing the fields, the installation of the AstroTurf will begin sometime in the second week of July. The expected completion date is August 6th.

“We are really blessed,” Briggs said when the project was approved in May. “This is part of a long-term project for the district that will serve not just athletics but all students in the classrooms and the community.

“No more gopher holes, blotchy grass or tripping hazards in the fields,” he said. “Our students, staff and the community can be proud of the ongoing improvements to facilities in our district. We are very happy about the continuous support from our alumni and our community.

“The facility upgrades will increase student safety and ensure that Roxana athletes, students and community members enjoy world-class sports facilities,” the district said in a statement. “The district, which has been inland since 1941 and operated on the same land, is unable to fully support programs because there is not enough space for exercises and competition.”

“This will be a top notch facility when it’s finished,” he said. “It’s not just about rolling out the new lawn and calling it finished.”

The colors for markings, end zones and logos are part of the lawn at the start of installation.

“We have agreed on color schemes for both fields and expect AstroTurf to complete production of the turf in mid-July,” said Briggs. “Once this phase is completed, it will take two weeks to lay the lawn in the field.

“We still hope to receive another large donation before the project is completed so that we can install a new scoreboard on the newly built Norman Lewis Soccer Field.

“We’re still working on sponsorships,” said Briggs, “but the project should be completed by August 6th, looking forward to the coming year. We have so many things to celebrate and be grateful for.

“I am honored to take on a small part of this project for future generations.”

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