Football season is still a few months away, but the next time a game is played at Westwood Middle School's Dyer-Bouldin Field, it will be on a new surface.
The school began to re-sod the field and install a new irrigation system on Thursday, June 6. The field will also have new goal posts put in place. The project was carried out by Premier Lawn Care.
Westwood Head Coach Chad Dyer estimated that the last time a major project happened on the playing surface was close to two decades ago. Dyer took over as coach in 2004.
"I believe they re-crowned it to give it that good football shape of a field in the late '90s," Dyer said. "But as far as the Bermuda grass and the nice and stereotypical football field look, nothing's been done other than the occasional reseeding it with fescue and fertilizer just to keep it green."
Dyer added this was the first time that a Bermuda grass-type playing surface had been installed at the field since it was built in the mid-1960s.
"I played there back in the '80s and we were playing on clover and fescue and crabgrass, Dyer explained. "Anything that was green, except for the nice playing surface that we're gonna get now."
The new Bermuda grass playing surface will provide more safety for football and soccer players who use it, as well as for gym classes held outside.
Whereas the older surface could potentially lead to rolled ankles in a clump of crabgrass, the new surface is designed for heavy use. The irrigation system will help the grass to grow in through the summer heat.
"Currently what we were dealing with wasn't a safe playing surface for any of our sports," Dyer said. "Bermuda's the type of grass that is good with heavy traffic, which it's gonna see, especially this time of year with football and then girls' soccer playing on it at the same time."
The new goal posts will replace the multi-purpose goal posts that were installed over a decade ago. The old ones were installed to function for both football and soccer.
Sharing was made unnecessary after soccer goals were purchased for the boys' and girls' teams. The new goal posts will be football-specific.
"At the time that we got the multi-purpose ones, it was a need and it made sense for us to have those," Dyer said. "But now with the new project going on, it's time to make the field look traditional."
Dyer was thankful to Westwood's administration and the school board for their help in getting the project started. Among those he thanked included Chairman of the School Board Travis Hillis and Dr. Joey Vaughn, the director of Manchester City Schools.
"Our administration has fixed the neglect that Dyer-Bouldin Field has needed for several years," Dyer said. "We're gonna have a playing surface that our community can be proud of."