- It's finally here -- Southampton High's very own 'Field of Dreams,' the new synthetic turf rolled into place in anticipation of live play this coming weekend. After more than two months of prep work and numerous delivery delays, coaches and athletes alike are eager to give the field a try according to the district's Director of Facilities Randy Dobler.
In an ideal scenario, Saturday afternoon's Southampton-Miller Place field hockey matches would be the first games to be played on the field. However, rain in the forecast may postpone the installation's final steps, making the beginning of next week a more likely scenario – just in time for the JV football team's game against Miller Place.
"We're very close right now," Dobler said. "We're anticipating some rain, so that will slow the process down by a couple days."
The Final Countdown
The synthetic carpet was delivered to the school Friday and rolled out over the weekend. But much of the details to the field, such as yard-line numbers, hash marks and the Southampton logo, had to be sewn in separately earlier this week. The last major hurdle to clear is filling in the synthetic grass with the sand-rubber mixture which sets it in place. Wet weather would cause yet another postponement to the field's opening day.
The super duper new field in waiting. Photos by Brett Mauser
"When they spray the sand down, they can't do it if it's wet or rainy," Southampton Athletic Director Darren Phillips commented. "The sand will stick to the filament and it won't fill in correctly."
Amityville's LandTek Group, which was hired at a cost of $1,080,000 to install the technically advantageous field, first arrived on the premises on Aug. 6. The original contract targeted Oct. 15 for the completion of the project, but Phillips and Dobler each communicated that the ideal date would be for Oct. 12 – the night of Southampton's homecoming football game. The installation of the turf lagged, and the Mariners football team, led by Phillips, was forced to play its entire home schedule, including the homecoming tilt, on its practice field. With the fall season nearly over, the Mariners lacrosse teams will be the first to play a full season on the turf.
"We've always been happy with the quality of the product," Dobler said, "But we have had a problem with the timeframe and issues with responsiveness. We would have liked to have had it for homecoming, so it's a little disappointing to say the least."
With the field's availability still uncertain, Phillips is left to answer questions from his coaches about whether they should, with potential playoff spots on the line, prepare for their final few games to be played on a new surface. "I really won't know until everything's all done," he said.