After years of being stepped on, trampled and rejected, the turf on the field at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex could no longer bear the abuse.
The turf that served Denton ISD’s football teams since the stadium opened in June 2004 has been replaced. After years of mainly playing host to Guyer and Ryan football teams, the playing surface was uprooted after years of deterioration.
Hellas Sports Construction, the company that installed the initial playing surface, posted the winning bid to install the turf before the beginning of the 2013 football season, which starts in a little over two months.
“We got nine good years out of it,” Denton ISD athletic director Ken Purcell said. “It needed to be changed. We had some playoff people complain about it and our own teams. We have great turf at each of our high schools, and they were saying their turf was better than the old C.H. Collins turf.”
According to Paul Andress, the district’s executive director of operations, the total cost of the renovation at C.H. Collins was $325,380. Andress said the funding for the renovation at the district’s main football stadium came from leftovers from the district’s operating budget.
Hellas was one of three finalists to install the turf. Hellas has installed stadium turf at places across the nation, from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to the fields the Argyle Eagles and Lake Dallas Falcons call home. Hellas also placed the turf at Denton High’s Bronco Field.
The project was approved in April and the process began at the beginning of May, said Buck Smith, DISD interim assistant athletic director.
The winner of the competition to put the turf into the stadium was the district, Purcell said. The athletic director also said the fact the district has at least two televised games per year and the stadium’s location make C.H. Collins a premier location for companies who want to show off their handiwork to future clients who need turf for their athletes to tread on.
“We got very, very competitive bids to do the turf this time,” Purcell said. “So we really came out well financially on it because of the bids that came in and [them] wanting to do C.H. Collins because it’s a high-exposure stadium.”
Purcell said that before the field was unfit to be showcased, C.H. Collins got plenty of visitors from those looking to get turf fields installed in places like Missouri and Kansas.
Smith said tests concluded that the old turf had grown harder over the years, the field’s standards dropped and player safety began to be a concern.
Not to mention, teams in higher classifications were beginning to hear about the stadium’s turf and shied away from scheduling playoff games at C.H. Collins. Argyle and Melissa played their Class 3A Division II playoff game at the stadium last season, along with Krum and Celina and other various teams that chose the stadium as a central meeting point during the postseason.
“You have to keep it at a point where it’s appealing for other teams to come in and play here,” Smith said.
Purcell said both Guyer and Ryan plan on scrimmaging on the field before the season begin. Smith said he’s been notifying coaches who have played on the field in the past about C.H. Collins’ new dressings.
The hopes are that when the temperatures drop in late November and a field is needed for a playoff game, the turf at C.H. Collins will be stepped on, trampled and accepted.
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.