ALBANY, Ore. – Just in time for football season – the South Albany High School Rebels are getting a new turf field, thanks to a huge amount of community support.
This week, FieldTurf USA of Tualatin is continuing to install the turf at the Rebels’ stadium. On Wednesday, workers spent hours sheering out the yard line numbers along the field and other field markers.
“It’s pretty exciting, just knowing that I get to play on it before I graduate,” said incoming South Albany High senior Alex King, who also plays on the football team.
“It’s going to be great for rainy nights,” said incoming senior football player Tyler Kelsch. “Because you won’t come home muddy.”
Football players at South Albany say they could not be more pumped for the turf.
“Turf allows you to run faster and make better cuts because the ground’s always level,” Kelsch said.
He says the level field will be much better than the grass field the team was playing on before.
“It was uneven and it was mounded like a rounded hill,” King said.
“There was always the sand underneath it,” said incoming senior Dalton Tackitt. “And then that would get up in your face along with all the mud.”
But this year, the approximate $1 million project is giving students a new field – all funded from donors within the community.
“I’m extremely grateful and I know the whole school is extremely grateful,” Kelsch said. “And it just makes you feel good knowing that that many people are looking out for the kids here.”
South Albany’s principal, Brent Belveal, says students have never met the donors – which gives athletes a boost of inspiration.
“I think that’s a great way to inspire kids,” he said. “To give them confidence; to also to give them a little bit of responsibility: that they’re representing our community when they step on the field.”
He too, says he is grateful for the support from the area.
“It speaks a lot about the community and the fact that they care about our kids.”
“It shows how the community is coming together as one just to make this happen,” King said. “And it’s not just going to be used for the high school. The whole town is going to be able to use it. Which is pretty cool.”
Belveal says other high school teams will be able to use the field as well, and even Pop Warner and Boys and Girls Club teams.
“Before, we were using this facility about 20 times a year for home football games and several track and field events,” Belveal said. “Now, we’re projecting we’ll be able to use the facility 200 times a year with the turf.”
The field will be ready before the start of this football season. The South Albany High School varsity team has its first home game on Sept. 12.