After initial delays due to issues with permits and insurance, the artificial turf-installation project at what will be Bill Gray Stadium at One Champion Carwash Field in Roseburg hit another snag recently that has stalled work again.

Project manager Dale Collett, from Synthetic Turf Consulting in Colorado, was in Roseburg working on the field replacement, but had to make an emergency trip home for cancer treatment.

The medical emergency halted the progress of the installation and the project has been at a standstill since.

Knife River has stepped in to help continue the project, according to project organizer Jeff Admire. The construction company has been contracted to finish work being done on the base layers and drainage system.

“We met out there (at the baseball field) Friday and they had people out there doing surveying,” said Admire, a commissioner with the local American Legion Post 16 which manages the operations at the stadium.

Admire said Knife River expects to begin its phase of the work within the next week.

The construction company will remove more dirt from the field before working on the drainage system for the new artificial turf surface and adding the final base layers.

Once Knife River’s work is complete — which could take from four to six weeks — the new playing surface can be installed by Synthetic Turf Consulting.

The turf material will be delivered next week and the installation process doesn’t take very long, Admire said. Organizers think the field should be installed by around Thanksgiving.

The project, however, has gone past the initial timeline, which has had an effect on the Umpqua Community College baseball program.

The team had hopes of holding fall practices on the new field and a number of scrimmages against other schools as the Riverhawks gear up for their first season of baseball since 1985. UCC head coach Jeremiah Robbins said his team has had to practice at Sunshine Park, which doesn’t handle rain very well, and in the hitting facilities at Bill Gray Stadium.

“We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of the turf facility,” Robbins said. “It will change our lives, for sure.”

The Riverhawks had to cancel four scrimmages this fall that were planned to be played on the new One Champion Carwash Field, previously known as Legion Field.

UCC played a doubleheader at Lane Community College in Eugene last weekend, but will likely not compete against other schools the rest of the fall due to lack of practice time.

“We’ll just keep working hard and we’ll look for Feb. 22 our opener against Olympic College here at (One Champion Carwash) Field,” Robbins said.

The baseball programs at Roseburg High School and Umpqua Valley Christian will join the Riverhawks in breaking in the new field in the spring of 2020. The high school baseball season begins with preseason practices on March 2.

Joey Keeran is the sports director for KSKR The Score.

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