Roseburg High School will unveil the newly redone Finlay Field on Friday as the football team hosts Reynolds in its home opener.

Finlay Field has been under construction since early June and crews have been working 10-hour days this week to assure the field will be ready for the game.

“I called the general manager of Hellas Construction on Monday and said, ‘Hey. I need to know this morning, are we playing here on Friday or not?’ The superintendent, who’s here now, called me back and said, ‘you will play on Friday night,’” said Tracy Grauf, physical plant manager for Roseburg Public Schools. “It’s happening.

“Ideally, Thursday morning Russ (Bolin, the athletic director) and I will walk out here with them and make sure we’re happy with everything.”

This week Hellas Construction crews have been working to put 3/4-inch of a small pea gravel and 3/4-inch of rubber infill on the field to soften the field and make the field feel more like real grass. Underneath the artificial turf there will also be concussion pads, which should limit the amount of head injuries for the athletes.

“We are excited to have our largest classroom back so we can get back to having classes, practices and competitions on the field,” Bolin said.

After adding the gravel and rubber infill crews will brush the artificial fibers to stand them up and allows the fill material to fall inside. This will also become part of regular field maintenance to regroom the field.

“They’ve got a broom that stays with us and they’ll run it over and it picks up these loose fibers. All of that will be going of the field for Friday night,” Grauf said. “It’ll be part of the field maintenance, probably every game. Maybe every week, every other week.”

The artificial grass will be stapled to the nailer boards once the infill has fallen between the grass fibers.

During the installation, the turf panels came with five-yard lines already marked and the big panels were sewn together on the field. Similarly, the black end zones were simply black and sewn to the green mats.

Hellas Construction then cut out all the other field markings — including one-yard markers, the feather in the center, the ROSEBURG letters for the end zones, a yellow soccer outline and gray outline for lacrosse — and glued those to the turf.

“Everybody’s been pretty happy (with the new look),” Grauf said. “Everybody thinks it’s beautiful. It’ll be interesting on Friday night when more people are here.”

Grauf said Roseburg football coach Dave Heuberger had indicated that he would like to practice on the field prior to the first home game.

“I want to thank the board, Cheryl Northam, Knife River and Hellas Construction for all the efforts to complete Finlay Field,” Bolin said. “I would also especially like to thank all of our fall coaches and band director for being so flexible with practice times and changing schedules.”

Construction was delayed by nearly a month when it was discovered the field was not level and the wrong subsurface was used in the initial installation. The field goalposts also had to be evened out as there was a six-inch height difference.

“Once the field was leveled it’s been all smooth sailing,” Grauf said. He also noted the field goalposts (and soccer goals) had been painted to look like new.

A thick layer of dust that covered the grandstands on Tuesday will be washed off in the next two days to make the area as nice as possible for Roseburg fans, according to Grauf.

Then on Monday a new construction crew will come in to put in a new track.

During that time the football, soccer and band may be able to use the new turf for some activities, but will have to stop once the track surface goes on.

“We’ll end up kicking people off of it again,” Grauf said. “We might be able to do some practice depending on what they’re doing on the outside, but once they start applying the base layer of the track then we have to stay off of it for two days because it takes that long to cure. We can’t cross it or accidentally run onto it. We’re going to miss some soccer games after the initial ability to play here this Saturday.”

The soccer games and practices will continue to be played at Fir Grove Fields. Football practices will once again take place on the auxiliary field next to Finlay Field.

Resurfacing of the track is estimated to take 10 business days.

Roseburg’s football team will be able to play its Sept. 28 game against Grants Pass, and all following games, at Finlay Field according to Grauf.

Sports reporter Sanne Godfrey can be reached at 541-957-4203 or via email at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey

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Sports Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is a sports reporter for The News-Review.

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