Gretna High stadium project

A rendering of what the Gretna High School campus will look like after the stadium and turf project.

Muddy uniforms will be a thing of the past.

But Gretna High School students will face a new laundry problem: the ubiquitous crumb rubber.

Gretna school officials are moving ahead with their plan to replace natural grass soccer and football fields at Gretna High with artificial turf.

The school board voted 6-0 last week to request bids for the turf installation and stadium facilities upgrade.

The project is estimated to cost about $9.7 million, Superintendent Kevin Riley said. The money will come from the bond issue voters approved last fall.

Bids will be opened April 4, and if bids are suitable, construction will start in late spring. Officials hope that the fields will be finished by Aug. 9 and the stadium work by mid-September.

The project is a substantial upgrade of the campus sports facilities, adding seating, concessions, team rooms and parking.

When finished, the school will have an artificial turf football field in the stadium and right next to it an artificial turf competition soccer field.

Both will be striped for both soccer and football, providing scheduling flexibility, officials said.

“You can’t go wrong with turf,” said Chad Jepsen, activities director at the high school. “You know what you’ve got. It’s going to play well, and it’s consistent. But you do have to deal with the heat off it, and turf burns, if you’re falling.”

While not as forgiving as natural grass, turf’s flexibility and durability are important to handle the intensive use expected from the band and dance teams, as well as freshmen, junior varsity and varsity athletic teams, he said.

In the spring, given Nebraska weather, turf is ready to play on earlier than grass, he said.

The facility is being developed to eventually serve two high schools.

“This is not just for current needs; it’s for future needs,” Riley said. “Our next bond issue need will be a second high school.”

The project includes constructing an additional parking lot, a soccer press box and seating and, for the stadium, extra seating, concessions, team rooms, storage and restrooms.

Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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