Northwest field renovations changing home football locations to start season

Local4 News at 10
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 10:13 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - With fall high school sports quickly approaching, the Grand Island Northwest football team will not be playing games on its home field to start the year.

School officials told Local4 News that the renovation project currently underway on the Vikings’ athletic field will not be complete by the first home game of the season.

“The summertime is when everybody orders turf,” Northwest Activities Director Matt Fritsche said. “We were probably one of the later schools to say, ‘Yeah, we’re doing this.’ And so, we probably were on the backburner. It’s one of those things where as much as it’s supply-chain issues, it’s kind of just doing business and it takes a long time doing a project of this magnitude.”

According to Fritsche, the team will play its first scheduled home games on Sept. 9 at Hastings College against Seward and Sept. 16 at Grand Island Senior High’s Memorial Stadium against Elkhorn North.

“The best thing about working in a small town is it’s a great community,” Fritsche said. [GISH] was happy to welcome us, as was Hastings College. And I think those two schools have probably both been there before and they were empathetic to our situation.”

Not only is GINW installing a new turf, but Fritsche said the school is also concreting the D-Zones near the high jump area of the track, implementing new light fixtures for the stadium, and dealing with field drainage.

“We’re expecting turf delivery in late August and the installation process I know can be anywhere from 15-30 days,” Fritsche said. “It takes a while for it to get done correct.”

The project began in November of 2020 “addressing the needs of the district” and finding out “what we can do to better serve our students,” according to Fritsche.

“Our grass field was in pretty rough shape,” he said. “We kind of had a grub problem a couple years ago that we never really recovered from.”

The Vikings open the season Aug. 26 on the road against Aurora.

“I’ve got one of the most flexible head coaches in the country,” Fritsche said. “When you think of football, you think of rigidity and coach (Kevin) Stein is super flexible and he understands the magnitude of this project. He understands how important it is to get done.”

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