One of the phases included the addition of the new physical education and wellness building, which opened in 2011, along with a new press box and VIP suites that hang over the top of the original press box.
Another phase included renovations to the restrooms and concession buildings within the stadium, while another involved locker room additions for the boys and girls soccer teams.
The final phases of the stadium construction project, which is being paid for by the John McEachern Endowment Fund, will take place in a couple of weeks when McEachern has new turf installed on the stadium field, along with the addition of a new videoboard to replace the current scoreboard.
“We knew this was all coming and we planned for it,” said McEachern athletic director Jimmy Dorsey, the school’s former football coach. “We put the turf in about 11 years ago, and we could get about four more years of use off it, but the videoboard project requires that we run conduits underneath the field, so we decided to pull the turf up now rather than try to squeeze those last four years out of it.
“Our current scoreboard is now 15 years old. It has light bulbs in it. When some parts break down, we can’t even get new parts to replace it because the board is so archaic, that the company who installed it doesn’t support it anymore. The new videoboard is going to be a true LED concept that we think our community will really enjoy.”
The videoboard will be roughly 38 feet wide by 28 feet tall. Portions of the board can be partitioned to display the necessary scoreboard information for sports such as football, soccer and lacrosse, while also showing game or advertising video in other sections.
“It’s a process called ‘windowing off a video wall,’” Dorsey said. “We can use sections of the board to display the things we need to display, whether it’s in-game video, or signage or advertising space, and even the scoreboard. It will be a 16mm (high-definition) board, which is equivalent to watching a 1080p television set at home.
The videoboard, manufactured by Fair-Play, will also include a new sound system from Danley Sound Labs.
“We’re excited about it. It will be a different experience for everyone,” Dorsey said. “We’ll have instant replay and live feeds from the game. We’ll also have live feeds installed at the concessions stands to enhance the game experience, so when fans go to grab a hot dog or something, they won’t have to too miss much of the action.”
Anywhere from 12 to 15 people will be needed to run the new videoboard system when it’s up and running. Recently, McEachern started a television and video production career path as part of its school curriculum, and Dorsey expects those students to handle a bulk of the work needed to run the videoboard.
“Knowing how to run the videoboard will be a big component of this class,” he said. “We’re going to have some knowledgeable people here at first, training and showing the kids what to do. We’ve hired someone from that industry to teach the classes, and the kids will get practical, hands-on experience at the stadium. Once they get familiar with it, our hope that it’s student-run in the future.”
As for the new artificial turf, the school went with the same company that installed the current surface.
“The turf project went out for bid, and Sprinturf won the project,” Dorsey said. “They installed our first artificial turf field in 2003 and will put the new one in as well. We’re excited to work with them again.”
According to Trent Moore, Sprinturf’s southeast regional sales manager, the new turf will have a faster surface. It will also have a more realistic look to it.
“(McEachern is) going with our UltraBlade DF Elite turf, where ‘DF’ stands for ‘dual fiber,’” Moore said. “It’s an improved fiber from what they already have, but we’ve also added a monofilament fiber that gives it a much more realistic grass look then what’s been used the past 10 years.
“We’re going to remove the current turf, laser-grade the field to make sure the crown is OK and the elevations are still good, and then we’re going to put the new turf on.”
The projects are slated to begin May 25, the day after graduation, or the following Monday. The major work is expected to be completed in a month, before McEachern hosts a 40-team 7-on-7 football tournament.
“The field will be down by then,” Moore said. “The lettering and the logos may have to come after the tournament, but (the field) should all be done before the tournament.”