As of Tuesday, June 12, 2018
DALLAS — Monday afternoon a crowd gathered at Ron August Stadium at Dallas High School to watch Stephanie Earhart shovel up a mound of grass and dirt from the football field in preparation for the new turf that will officially be laid down by the beginning of next school year — just in time for the high school’s first home football game.
The Ground Breaking Ceremony invited any one from the Dallas community to come be a part of Dallas history, where awards and thanks were given out to everyone who gave their time, efforts, and donations toward this project.
The football field was named in honor of the late Ron August, who was an educator and football coach at DHS, leading the team to a state victory in 1986. August’s youngest daughter, Dyan Tallon, who was at the ceremony, was presented with a gift and a hug from Kathy Voves, which generated tears and an emotional ripple throughout the crowd.
Obtaining this turf has been a year-long project for the Booster Club as well as for the Dallas community, and Earhart sees the project as a symbol for what small town communities can do.
“I think that it symbolizes Dallas because the community is how this project got done,” she said. “Dallas is very special, and not just because it’s my hometown, but because people come together; they wanted to see this project through, and that’s why we’re here today, is because this community came together.”
Through the tireless efforts of fundraisers, grants, logo sponsors, and the bottle drop, which raised $24,000 alone, enough money was raised to allow the project to be completely funded all the way through.
“It’s nice to know that we don’t have to go through the summer raising money with this big bill over our heads,” Earhart said.
Having a turf instead of a grass field will affect not only the sports teams at DHS but the community as well, who will get to use it for different events and activities throughout the year.
The old field was not level, allowing zero runoff from rainwater and resulting in a mucky, slippery field as soon as the rains started.
“The turf is gonna impact us in an extremely positive way,” newly appointed head football coach Andy Jackson said. “We’ve spent many years here practicing in mud, where our efficiency drops significantly, our speed drops, because we’re playing on unstable surfaces. We’re really excited because I believe it’s gonna pay off huge for us, on a day-to-day basis. Our practice will be more efficient, (and) we’ll be able to get a lot more done.”
According to Earhart, this was the third attempt to get a turf for the field, and she said she believes it was successful this time around because of the people who came together to make it happen.
“It’s exciting to know that we did something that the community is going to be able to enjoy, and that we didn’t do it on our own, the community did. So it’s been by the community and for the community, and that’s what’s kept us going and now, here we are,” Earhart said.
Now that the money’s raised, the real work begins. The entire field has to be ripped up so the construction crew can begin laying down a concrete foundation to level out the field and then place the turf on it, which will hopefully take place late August or early September.
“It’s amazing,” DHS athletic director Tim Larson said. “No matter what work has to be done to make it happen, it’s so worth it.”
This turf project has catapulted future projects for DHS, including placing a new track next summer.
In the meantime, the community gets to enjoy Friday night football games again.
“Yes it will be nice to have Friday night football out here again,” Earhart said. “It’s going to be awesome.”