BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Cari Doutre – February 16, 2021
Bear Field, home of the Bear River High School football team, will soon be getting a big makeover - in an “artificial” way.
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, Box Elder School District’s Board of Education voted 5-2 to replace the grass on the school’s football field with turf, a synthetic or artificial material designed to look like grass.
But there's a catch. The school district wants the school and/or community to raise 60% of the cost to install the turf and Box Elder School District would cover the rest.
It didn’t take long to raise the money.
Within just a few weeks they were able to raise their share of the cost thanks to Bear River High School football fans, generous businesses and the community. Clay Chournos, Assistant Principal at Bear River High School, and Jared Fronk, a Bear River High School alumnus, were among those that led the way in fundraising efforts.
“The fact that we got turf the way we did, through the efforts of the community, is really what is most significant about this,” said Chris Wise, Bear River High School’s head football coach.
It was a vote that has made a lot of Bear River High School football supporters excited for this next step for many different reasons.
“It tells the kids that all of us want them to be successful and that they don’t have to take a back seat to anyone,” Wise said.
“It was time to move these kids into the 21st century,” he added.
Wise has been the school’s head football coach for 19 years and spent four years as a member of the football team when he was in high school. In that time has watched the football field go through ups and downs but added that for the most part they’ve done a great job of keeping it up.
However weather conditions, combined with high school football games and other activities has put wear and tear on the field throughout the years.
It's not just the football team at Bear River High School that will benefit from a turfed field.
“We will now be able to utilize our beautiful stadium more than just a few times a year, not to mention the fact that we are short on outdoor facilities for all our sports,” said Bear River High School’s Athletic Director Van Park.
“This will give soccer, both boys’ and girls’ and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse, in addition to football and track, a great place to host games and matches,” Park added.
There are other benefits when it comes to turf over grass. Turf requires less maintenance and watering and can last for 15 years or more – even through harsh northern Utah winters.
A turfed football field was also something the school district had in mind years ago when the track surrounding Bear River High School’s football field was being replaced. A drainage system specifically for turf was added during renovations.
As far as an estimated completion date, Wise stated that the school hopes to break ground by May 2021, following the standard bidding process. Bear River High School could have a newly turfed football field as early as late July 2021.
“I believe it will bring bigger crowds to the events as well as more excitement and pride to our student athletes and entire student body. Not only that but now the community will have a great place to go and watch these different activities,” Park said.
Turf on Bear River High School’s football field means more than just an upgraded field for appearance's sake.
“The fact is, that this valley rises when our sports rise. It’s great for everyone,” Wise said.