GREENVILLE – The artificial turf at Harmon Field is installed, marking the first major project completed in Greenville’s almost $5 million endeavor to modernize its athletics facilities.
Last week the installation of artificial turf was finished, and Greenville didn’t waste any time in utilizing it. The Green Wave football and boys soccer teams both had scrimmages on it Saturday – the first day it was available for the Wave to use.
“This whole week every team has practiced on it,” Greenville Athletics Director Dusty Yingst said. “The band has been out on it. Every day we’ve got two, three, four teams out on the field so we’re scheduling it as full as we can get it until school starts when schedules get a little more chaotic with home events. But once school starts every team on average will be out there twice a week not including their home events that week.”
With so many teams utilizing the facility including high school and junior high football teams, boys and girls soccer teams and the band, the grass that previously covered Harmon Field tended to get torn up, leaving spots that were covered by mud.
With the new turf surface, field conditions will no longer be an issue for Greenville regardless of how many teams use the facility.
“That’s probably the most exciting part for me is not having to worry each week or each night when it rains if we have a home event on what the field conditions is going to be like that next day or that next home event,” Yingst said. “It’s going to be very nice from a scheduling standpoint of not having to worry about moving games, canceling games so really the only time we’re going to have to worry about that now is if we get some thunder and lightning.
“We spent a lot of money on that turf for our students to use and for our community to be proud of so we’re going to play as many games as possible on that.”
Along with Green Wave athletics events, Greenville will seek opportunities to host Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff games at Harmon Field. The OHSAA tries to schedule playoff games at fields with artificial turf so Greenville could now be in consideration for those games.
With Greenville’s proximity to schools in conferences such as the Cross County Conference, Midwest Athletic Conference and Southwestern Buckeye League, Yingst sees Greenville as an ideal location for playoff games.
“Maybe we can keep some of those teams from having to travel down south or to the east more,” he said. “Maybe they can come here and get a good CCC and MAC playoff football game here or something.”
While the field will be ready to host playoff games, Yingst acknowledged that Greenville’s bleachers and locker room facilities might not meet OHSAA standards at this point.
“I’ll definitely take the steps to look into that and at least get us on the radar for that time when we do get the rest of that project completed,” he said.
In the meantime Greenville is continuing to work on other projects related to the Harmon Field renovations.
Construction is continuing on the Jennings Center Track & Field Complex just north of Harmon Field. Lights are installed at the track complex, field goal posts are up, the topsoil has been graded and work is beginning on the fencing and press box.
Asphalt for the base of the track will be poured this upcoming week and bleachers at the Jennings Center Track & Field Complex are anticipated to be installed the week of Labor Day. The actual track can be installed a month after the asphalt is down.
“The track project is progressing very, very well,” Yingst said. “It’s obviously exciting to see what’s going on out there with the turf project being completed and the progression that is being made on the track facility.”
There still are a lot of other projects at Harmon Field including new bleachers, new lights, new restrooms and a field house that are in the planning stages. Yingst would like to see those projects completed in the next couple of years to benefit the Green Wave athletes and make Greenville more desirable for OHSAA tournament games.
“Optimistically we’d like to see it done in the next couple years, but that may not be realistic. It may be realistic,” Yingst said. “We’re kind of in that middle point right now.”
While there’s still a lot of work to be done, Yingst is excited about what already has been accomplished.
“Now the exciting part is to watch our community and our kids go out and participate and use these facilities and give us a facility that we can show off and be extremely proud of and compare it to those other (Greater Western Ohio Conference) schools that our students and our community consistently go to and see what they have, and now we can compare we what have to those schools,” he said.
Yingst will continue working with Friends of Harmon Field to continue moving forward with the projects. The group meets weekly as it develops plans and seeks donations to fund the work at the stadiums.
“We look forward to continue working to complete the final phases of this project,” Yingst said.
To learn more about the athletics projects at Greenville, visit the Friends of Harmon Field website at www.friendsofharmonfield.com.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.