Todd McInturf / The Detroit News
The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s football team (MI) is welcoming in their 100th year of football with a whole lot of red – like 94,000 square feet of red. The school installed a red Sporturf field composed of plastic blades, sand and rubber on top of a drainable rock base. The new field will replace the grass that sat for 51 years.
The idea came from facilities coordinator Rob Goddard after he saw Eastern Washington University’s field in the news last fall. The color will come close to matching the red that St. Mary’s sports in their uniform. According to Michigan High School Athletic Association rules, teams must wear dark colors at home. OLSM will wear red jerseys and black pants.
It was a group effort funding the field and starting the installation project. Since December, the school’s 325 booster club members and donors had raised over $400,000. When the installation began a couple weeks ago, more than 20 players were on site to help roll out the pieces of turf. OLSM begins their practices this upcoming Monday, August 6.
Eric Lacy of the Detroit News wrote about the task at hand:
A crew of eight Michigan-based turf installers, and a few others from out of state, plan to put in 12- to 16-hour days over nearly a 20-day span to get the project done on time.
The job isn’t easy because they’re dealing with 38 pieces of turf, each 15 feet wide and 165 feet long that need to be lined up tight and sealed to the stone base.
Crews will dump 250,000 pounds of rubber and 90,000 pounds of sand on top of the playing surface to give it stability, traction and cushioning.
OLSM isn’t the first Michigan high school to stray from the traditional green field. Clarkston High School installed a navy blue turf field before last season.
St. Mary’s coach George Porritt was asked if it’s too much red. “No,” Porritt said. “If we had red pants, I think it would be.” Hmm, I respectfully disagree sir.