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Artificial turf to debut in Corona stadium in Aztecs’ football opener

The Corona del Sol High’s new artificial playing surface in their stadium will debut on Friday 3rd September at the Aztecs’ season opener against rivals Mountain Pointe. –Photo by Lee Shappell for wranglernews.com

By Andrew Lwowski for wranglernews.com

High schools across the Tempe Union High School District are upgrading their traditional lawns to coconut-filled artificial turf, a million dollar project that aims to reduce maintenance while providing a softer, greatly improved playing surface.

Corona del Sol is the newest school to go through the transition, and the renovation is getting to the point – in time for the Aztec home game on Friday September 3 against rivals Mountain Pointe.

Artificial play areas, like the new one at Corona del Sol High, are cheaper to maintain for school districts, are better able to withstand more powerful multipurpose applications, and do not require pesticides. –Photo by Lee Shappell for wranglernews.com

Roxanne Perrin, Deputy Director and Sports Director of Corona, said that the rebuilding of the field began in May and should be completed by August 31, so that the team has – if only a short – time to practice on the new surface and to get used to it to get used to it the first game.

During the four month process, the crews worked long shifts, sometimes 12 to 14 hours a day, to complete the project on time.

“I’ve been coming in here all summer and when I look at the field it looks like they’re just moving piles of dirt back and forth,” Perrin said. “But they had to remove dirt in order to lay cables for electricity, irrigation and drainage.

“You cover it up, then the field is leveled and tamped down. Then they add more material because it has to be a certain height. Then they pull it with string to make sure it is level because the field is crowned in the middle so it can drain easily.

A new wireless scoreboard, which was still not available on Monday afternoon, is expected to be installed beyond the southern end zone for the kick-off on Friday. –Photo by Lee Shappell for wranglernews.com

“You put down a black sheet, then a padded layer, and then the actual lawn.”

The surface is covered with filaments made of coconut and cork. These elements, Perrin explained, help keep the temperature of the field low while absorbing shock and moisture.

The field still needs to be irrigated to keep it cool, but no more pesticides, fertilizers, or irrigation are required.

In addition, a new wireless display board is to be installed behind the south spar, but it had not been set up by Monday afternoon.

In 2020, Perrin said, the fields at Desert Vista and McClintock High Schools were renewed.

Crews have been working flat out since June to complete the new playing area in time for the Corona kickoff on Friday. Photo by Andrew Lwowski for wranglernews.com

“I was in the DV field last year,” said Perrin. “It’s beautiful. It’s soft, there’s a lot of traction, there’s a lot of give for the players. And it’s not like walking on a super hard surface.”

The costs of the work are financed from funds from the TUHSD.

While soccer opens this week, soccer isn’t the only beneficiary of this project, according to Perrin.

“The thing about the grass pitch is that it benefits our entire campus,” she said. “It’s football, but also boys ‘and girls’ football. It’ll be good for athletics too … they do all kinds of warm-ups and static exercises in the middle, so they’ll benefit from that too. “

Corona’s tape program will also be able to practice on the new lawn.

Corona del Sol is the newest in the Tempe Union High School District to have an artificial playing surface in its stadium. McClintock, Tempe, and Desert Vista have them too. Marcos de Niza and Mountain Pointe should receive them in the coming years. –Photo by Andrew Lwowski for wranglernews.com

The opening of the new playing field allows sufficient practice area without the playing area being damaged.

“In terms of practice, we have the full pitch. So the university can practice on the grass pitch and JVs and newbies (players) can practice on the remaining two fields at the same time, ”said Perrin.

This field also allows sports into the winter and spring to enjoy an enhanced gaming experience. Typically, on traditional sward, the center of the field is worn down to dirt from the constant blows of soccer players, and by the time the soccer and athletics season starts it is completely worn out and mostly dirt.

Jeff Lambert, a senior wide receiver linebacker for the Aztec soccer team, said he and his teammates were excited.

“It will definitely be a big upgrade for us because last year we played and half of our field was dirt. This avoids a lot of stones on the field and unnecessary scratches, ”said Lambert.

Before the layers running under the artificial turf could be installed, the old natural turf had to be removed and excavation work carried out. –Photo by Andrew Lwowski for wranglernews.com

Lambert, like many football players up to the NFL level, said he loves the new generation of forgiving artificial turf.

“It almost feels like you can put your foot in deeper, like you have more traction,” he said.

The official presentation of the newly upgraded field will take place on September 3, when Corona receives rival Mountain Pointe at the start of the football season.

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