A limited amount of sod from Blankenship Field will be available to football fans during a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday afternoon.
Renovations have started at the field, which will be converted from grass to synthetic turf, possibly by the end of April.
The ceremonial groundbreaking will be hosted by the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools, and it is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Friday, December 7.
“Football fans will be given the opportunity to take home a piece of sod from the field beginning at 3:30 p.m. Friday,” a press release said. A limited amount of sod will be available at no cost on a first-come, first-served basis.
Work on the field began Tuesday, November 27, following a meeting between the Oak Ridge Schools’ Maintenance Department, representatives from two City of Oak Ridge departments (Public Works and Recreation and Parks), the field turf contractor, and the excavation sub-contractor. The pre-construction meeting provided an overview of the timeframe for construction, the press release said.
The schools’ maintenance department then began the process of removing sprinkler system parts and disconnecting power to the scoreboards and time clocks. Public Works sent a crew to assist with preparation work at Blankenship, removing the perimeter fence and poles, while another Public Works crew began cleaning out storm drains at the base of the bleachers.
School maintenance crews prepared Ben Martin practice field at Oak Ridge High School to receive the grass field turf from Blankenship. Workers spent Wednesday and Thursday of last week cutting, moving, and resetting approximately two-thirds of the grass turf from Blankenship Field to Ben Martin Field, repurposing the material to make necessary repairs, the press release said.
The contractor has since delivered equipment and started the excavation process. Contractors anticipate that installation of the synthetic turf will be complete by April 30, 2019, in time for Oak Ridge High School’s graduation. Other phases of the project will follow, none of which will conflict with the graduation ceremony in May.
Background: The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation approved a $496,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant in late 2017 for the purpose of renovating Blankenship Field. The Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation is providing an equal match to the grant. The funds, totaling roughly $1 million, are being used to make a number of upgrades to the facility, including installation of synthetic turf, concrete walkways, synthetic track, new fencing, signage for the Cedar Hill Greenway trail head, and additional restrooms.
See our previous story about the Blankenship Field work here.
See our story on the contract for the work here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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