After weeks as “stray dogs” the Turlock High School football program can once again count on playing at Joe Debely Stadium just in time for their Friday night home game against Golden Valley High School.
“We are pleased to announce that following weeks of reconditioning, and a GMAX test that was conducted early this morning, Joe Debely Field has been cleared for competitive play beginning on Thursday,” said Turlock Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Mike Trainor.
Trainor said the GMAX test is a detailed, computer-driven test that evaluates the surface compaction level of the turf. The field will be retested on an annual basis.
“The life expectancy of a field varies depending upon the amount of use that it receives,” said Trainor. “It’s our hope that Debely Field will last at least the duration of the remaining warranty, which is two years.”
The field at Joe Debely Stadium was shut down to player use in August after results from compaction tests showed the artificial turf to be deteriorating much earlier than the promised 10 to 15 year life span. The turf was initially installed in 2010 as part of a $3.6 million modernization project of the stadium.
The District reached a mutual agreement at the end of August with Mondo Manufacturing to replace the infill rubber material. Trainor said the cost of the repair was $150,000, which was covered by the manufacturer warranty.
According to TUSD Superintendent Dana Salles Trevethan, six area schools offered their stadiums at no cost to both high schools for their home games while Joe Debely Stadium underwent turf replacement work. The schools were also allowed to keep all gate proceeds.
“Without their support and accommodations and hospitality, these last several weeks would have been extremely difficult,” said Trevethan.
Turlock High School will be the first to use the repaired field Friday against Golden Valley High School. Pitman High School and the eight youth football teams under Turlock Youth Football programs are slated to return as well.
“We will continue to monitor the facility as we always have, paying particular attention to any signs of overuse,” said Trainor. “The District has no plans of limiting access to this facility — all of our regular users will continue to have an opportunity to use the facility as they always have.”