NORTH BEND — When North Bend school officials decided it was time to replace the turf field at Vic Adams Field, they expected the work to be done in time for the official start of fall sports practice this week.
Now they hope it’s done in time for the football and soccer teams to get games on their home field in October.
And it’s not the only facilities issue for the school district, which also has found itself needing to replace the floor at North Bend Middle School after a steam leak under the floor led to buckling over more than half the floor.
It’s been a perfect storm of misfortune that included a supply chain issue in the football turf replacement project, North Bend athletic director Mike Forrester said.
District officials knew that the drains along the sidelines of the field had to be replaced because they were no longer working properly. What they didn’t know was that the new trench drains would be on back order, taking one to three more weeks to arrive.
“The football field was supposed to be done this week,” Forrester said last week. “The issue is, they get the drains, they have to install the drains, then they have to pour concrete and re-grade the field to get it to the right level. That whole process takes time.”
And that’s all before contractors for FieldTurf, the makers of the artificial surface, can install the new field.
News of the football field’s delay and the gym issue could have created great headaches for district officials.
Fortunately, North Bend has been able to come up with some alternate venues, including borrowing Marshfield’s Pete Susick Stadium for the football opener and the soccer field at Southwestern Oregon Community College for the team’s early home matches. And the middle school volleyball teams can practice and play matches in the spacious high school gym.
“The good news is we have a great facility for our volleyball teams to practice and play in,” Forrester said.
The football team and boys and girls soccer teams are practicing on the lower fields below the middle school and a portion of the football practice field is measured and lined and can host junior varsity contests.
When school starts next month, the district will need to have the physical education classes for the middle school hold class outside while the gym work is completed.
“Thank goodness it’s now, and not when it’s rainy,” Forrester said.
As for the early football games, Marshfield was quick to partner with North Bend — the Pirates played an entire season of games on North Bend’s field while their turf was replaced the last time.
“We’re happy to help North Bend,” Marshfield athletic director Greg Mulkey said.
The teams agreed to move their rivalry game to Marshfield this year — the Sept. 17 game had been scheduled for North Bend this season.
And North Bend’s first “home” game, against Crater, was pushed back one day. The Bulldogs will host the Comets on Saturday, Sept. 4, the day after Marshfield hosts defending Class 4A state champion Mazama.
North Bend’s other early scheduled home game against South Eugene on Sept. 25 also was tentatively moved to Marshfield, in case the North Bend field isn’t completed in time. But that game no longer exists after South Eugene announced last week that it will not field a football team this fall due to a lack of numbers.
Forrester took a humorous, but accurate approach to the news of the South Eugene game.
“They say bad things happen in threes,” he said. “No football field, middle school gym has to be replaced and now South has no team so we are a game short … hopefully we are done with bad stuff.”