Field probably won't be ready for home-opener

While it looks like an actual football field again, Keith Duke Roman field at Douglas High School probably won't be ready for the Tigers' home-opener Sept. 8 against McQueen.

And it might not be ready for the Tigers' home games in the two following weeks against arch-rival Carson and Damonte Ranch.

Right now, Douglas principal Marty Swisher said his goal is to have the team on the field by the school's Oct. 6 homecoming game against South Tahoe.

"The best-case, from what we are hearing right now, is that this could be wrapped up by mid-September," Swisher said. "It could be a little earlier and it could be a little later, but that is the best case."

Swisher said that some in the athletic department had hoped the $2 million rennovation of the facility, complete with artificial Field Turf, which looks and feels like grass, and an all-weather track, would be ready by the McQueen game, his goal was always for Oct. 6.

"That is a very acheivable date," he said. "It confines the team a little bit but they will just keep working on the practice field.

"The downside obviously is that the football team may not have all five of its home games this year, but everyone has had to give a little bit with this project. The track team had to give up practicing on an actual track last year."

In the meantime, Swisher has been on the phone with McQueen, Carson and Damonte Ranch trying to set up alternative sites to play.

"We will have some place to play, but the contengency will be either a neutral field or playing them at their place," he said. "We'd still technically be the home team, but we wouldn't be at home."

The first phase of the massive project is complete with a large upgrade of the drainage system in place, and pavement and chain-link fencing around the track. Rocks have also been installed under the bleachers to prevent the area from getting dusty when the wind kicks up.

"All the drainage was upgraded and enlarged," Swisher said. "It doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you have the turf and the track that need to be drained off quickly and the drainage from the parking lot, it ended up being a huge part of this."

Asphalt has been paved where the track will eventually be and the new goalposts, jumping runways and throwing pits have been installed.

Crews from Sportexe are expected to arrive in town this week to begin work on the turf.

Field Turf is used at Mackay Stadium in Reno and at Manogue High School. It includes blades of "grass" nearly two inches in length with an artificial dirt substance made from recycled tires. It allows for more comfort and less injury to the players while remaining durable and eliminating costs for water and mowing.

The estimate is that it will take two to three weeks to lay the turf down. Upon completion of the field, the Atlas track company will come in and lay the track down.

"We don't know exactly how long it (the track) will take," Swisher said. "The take right now is that the facility must be completely finished before we have anyone on it.

"We want to be flexible with them but the site is under the control of the contractor until they release it. It's more of a liability issue than anything."

Swisher said the school plans on having an opening day ceremony once the field and the track is complete. The facility will be named the Big George Sports Complex upon its completion in honor of Ray Sidney, the stateline owner of Big George Ventures, who donated $1.6 million to the project.

"It will look truly awesome when it is finished," Swisher said. "It will really take your breath away with the tiger head in the middle and the orange end zones. It'll be a Friday Night Lights kind of thing."

-- Joey Crandall can be reached at or at (775) 782-5121, ext. 212.


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