After three years of playing its home games on gridirons all over the county, the Liverpool High School football team will kick off against Baldwinsville at 7 p.m. Friday Sept. 17 on the newly renovated LHS stadium on Wetzel Road.
The new artificial turf uses sand and crumb rubber infill to create a playing surface as safe as a natural grass surface - perhaps even safer in cold conditions.
On Aug. 24, Mark Potter, the school district's executive director of secondary education, led an informal walk-through at the new facility for about 40 coaches, district staffers and school board members. Potter was Liverpool's acting athletic director for three years before Athletic Director George Mangicaro won full reinstatement after a long and controversial suspension.
New turf, track and bleachers
Potter proudly pointed to the brand new eight-lane track, the padded synthetic turf and aluminum bleachers capable of seating more than 2,250 spectators who will enjoy improved sight lines.
The field's infilled turf is manufactured to resemble natural grass and is stabilized by base materials cushioning the playing surface. Such turf is more durable and convenient than natural grass, which needs constant maintenance.
Potter noted that, on Aug. 22, the Syracuse area was drenched by an estimated four inches of rain.
"Since our new field drains 10 inches an hour, that heavy rain just went right through it," he reported. "It wasn't even an issue."
School Superintendent Richard "Nick" Johns told the Aug. 24 stadium visitors that the project was completed on time and came in $1 million under-budget.
"This is the nicest track I've ever seen," Johns said, "and I've replaced plenty of tracks in my career." The track and field comes with a 10-year warranty, "which is rare," he added.
No new taxes needed
The new stadium got its start on Feb. 26, 2009. That day - after twice rejecting more expensive stadium projects in 2008 - school district residents approved a $5.8 million renovation and turf project by a vote of 3,684 to 1,474. The overwhelming yes vote was largely due to pre-referendum efforts of some 100 volunteers who worked to inform voters.