SMITHVILLE — A crew installing new turf is scrambling to meet an Aug. 12 deadline to complete the Smithville High School football field project.
The project, headed up by Kiefer USA, was originally targeted for a July 8 completion date, according to Warriors football coach Jason Ambroson.
“They’re in the process of trying to meet that deadline, so hopefully that can be taken care of,” Smithville Athletic Director Darren Shaffer told the Courier-Tribune on Monday. “The crews are really pushing and working overtime and they did some work this weekend, so we’re trying to get it done.”
Ron DeMeyer, Kiefer USA regional sales manager, attributed poor weather conditions to the delay.
“We are a little behind,” DeMeyer told the Courier-Tribune, adding the situation was not what his team wanted. “We will have this thing ready to go come first practice. ... It has been the wettest June in the history of the Midwest so it’s a trickle-down series from job to job all over.”
“I’m going to hold faith that they’ll get it done,” Ambroson said.
Shaffer said the timeline of events has been frustrating.
“They came out here in early June and ripped up our old field and then it just sat here over a month without a field when we would have still been using the old field for some of the camps and practices.”
DeMeyer said the wet weather events occurred after the crew removed the old surface, resulting in work not being able to move forward and the field spending more days without a turf surface than anticipated.
“The entire state of Missouri has the same start date, so it’s very challenging when you lose multiple days at the beginning of the project,” DeMeyer continued. “Our goal was not to have the field sit for that timeframe; it just so happened to push us to have to move to other jobs to be able to get those done.”
The delay forced the Smithville football squad to run activities on a grass field near Horizon Elementary.
“We’ve adjusted what we have to do from a conditioning standpoint and from a physicality component, especially with contact just because we’re on a lot harder surfaces that aren’t as in as good of shape,” Ambroson said. “We’ll have to do some different things than we have in the past, starting here on Aug. 12, hopefully.”
Monday, Aug. 12, is the first day Missouri State High School Activities Association allows schools to begin fall practices.
DeMeyer said Kiefer USA consistently runs into project delays due to weather.
“You’re dealing with Mother Nature, No. 1, and you’re dealing with a very specialized installation and about 85,000 to 90,000 square feet of material that has to go down, so it does take time. Our goal is to put this in correctly. We would have loved the school to have the field sit during dead week,” he said. “This happens a lot this time of year.”
Despite the frustration, Ambroson said that his team has taken positives from the situation.
“At the same time we’ve kind of embraced it,” he said. “In order to make progress and get nice new things, sometimes things don’t always work out. You have to fight through adversity. There’s a lot of lessons that our kids have learned.”