The planned turf replacement at the Cullman High School football stadium has been completed, which should have the facility ready for another decade of competition and community events.
The turf replacement has been planned and budgeted over the past several years, with money set aside annually to handle the project. Cullman High athletic director Mark Stephens explained the turf has a 10-year lifespan, and the district actually pushed that to 11 years before moving ahead with the planned replacement.
The turf has to be replaced around every 10 years because over time, the rubber used will become compacted and the surface becomes too hard, which can create safety issues if not addressed and replaced.
Stephens said the school system has reaped the benefits of the turf field the past 10 years, with heavily reduced maintenance and upkeep requirements when compared to a grass field. The replacement also keeps Cullman High on the same facilities level as many other districts in the state, as turf has become more and more prevalent in recent years.
The football facility is also multi-use and has better drainage than a grass field, and can be used by football and soccer teams thanks to that versatility. It was also used this past season for the annual “Black and Gold” rivalry game between the two Cullman youth football teams. The stadium is also frequently used for community band competition events.
“It remains a top-notch competition surface with extremely low maintenance,” Stephens said. “It’s a lot less workload for maintaining for the coaches and staff.”
In addition to school and local events, the football stadium also plays host to statewide competitions that bring tourism traffic to the community.
“CHS has a great athletic stadium, and keeping it in top condition not only benefits the school but it benefits our entire community,” Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs said. “For instance, the AHSAA Class 1A-3A track meet is held on the track at Oliver Woodard Stadium each year. That’s a big event that brings many people from all over the state into Cullman.”
Final walkthroughs and inspections are taking place this week, with the field set to formally reopen for use on Monday.