The Beech High School football team will be playing on a new surface this fall as Shackle Island Stadium is currently under construction to replace their grass field with artificial turf.
The decision to approach Principal Kenny Powell and Dr. Dell Phillips at the Sumner County School Board with the project came after Head Coach Anthony Crabtree grew tired of end-of-the-year maintenance on his field.
“We started looking at this project a little over a year ago because we had many issues late in the season with the field,” Crabtree said. “Parents initially built the field, and it was never laser graded, so one of the issues we hope to fix is some places that hold too much water.”
Shackle Island Stadium hosts more than varsity Friday night games. They are also the home site for Knox Doss and T.W. Hunter Middle School, as well as freshman and junior varsity games.
The wear and tear of Tuesday and Thursday night games would severely impact the playing surface come Friday night.
“Our best option was to get artificial turf,” Crabtree added.
Following a conversation with Principal Powell on how things would work logistically, Crabtree and the school reached out to Dr. Phillips for permission to pursue raising money for the field.
“I met with people that I felt could help us with sponsorships after getting the approval, and we slowly put stuff together to know we feel like we have an opportunity to pay this off over time.”
According to Crabtree, the project will cost $681,125, and he hopes to have the field paid for in five years.
Beech will replace roughly 95,000 square feet starting inside the track.
The project began on June 9 and will be complete by August 1, according to Crabtree.
“The process has been smooth up to this point,” he said. “We have not hit any rock when excavating or have any problems when putting in the perimeter drain. Things are going well.”
There are several ways for supporters to donate, as the team will sell sponsorships for both on the field and the sideline.
“We will have advertisement on our field,” Crabtree said. “When people look at the field, they will see it on the home side of the field, two advertisements on the visitor's side, and you will see sideline sponsorships.”
Those packages run from anywhere between $25-$50,000.
Supporters and fans can also join the Buccaneer 500 Club, which is a two-year commitment at $21 per month through PayPal. You can also donate through PayPal or write a check to Beech Football.
The field, which is being complete by STS Distribution - Sports Turf Solutions, will also feature soccer lines giving the boys and girls teams a place to play through inclement weather.
Added Crabtree on the support he has received over his time at Beech High School: “I have been blessed with people in our community who want to support our school. This (field) is special not just for our seniors, but think about the kids that are in middle school or younger right now what this does for their high school career. I think this is a bigger deal for those kids than the seniors who only get one year on the field.”
Beech will become the first public school in Sumner County with an artificial turf field.
“Having an artificial field helps in preparation,” Crabtree added. “When you have your markings there every time you go out for practice, whether that be your sidelines, your hashes, numbers, whatever, in the exact spot every time I think those landmarks do help over time.”