Gonzaga Prep’s athletic facilities are getting a much-needed makeover.
The most visible work is on the football field where the turf installed in 2005 is being replaced.
The 12-year-old turf has outlived its eight-year warranty and was showing its age the last couple years.
“I’m really excited about it (new turf),” football coach Dave McKenna said. “It was really getting thin in a few places and some seams were bad.”
Minor repair work had been done the last two years to extend the turf’s life.
Replacing the turf is part of a $6 million capital project. Athletic director Paul Manfred said the cost to replace the turf is a little under $400,000.
It cost $700,000 to put turf down in 2005.
“A lot of that cost was for the foundation and for leveling it,” Manfred said. “There were a couple spots that will need some gravel and re-leveling. It’s like anything over time. There was some settling in spots.”
The old turf has been torn out. Workers will begin installing the new turf next week. It’s expected to be finished by the end of July, Manfred said.
The football team will report for its first practice on the turf Aug. 16, and the girls soccer and lacrosse teams will be using it.
Manfred hopes to use some of the old turf for different practice areas elsewhere on campus.
Work also has begun on remodeling the locker rooms, coach’s office and two classrooms in the basement below the gym.
A separate building, which will be an additional fitness area used primarily for wrestling, is being built, Manfred said. The building will be located near the batting cages.
The new locker rooms and remodeled classrooms should be ready by mid-September.
After the football season, work will begin to extend the gym 30 feet to the south. It will be just exterior work to begin with, Manfred said.
The interior work – which will include a wall between the main gym and the auxiliary gym – will begin March 1. A soundproof wall will be built between the north end of the gym and the theater.
Bleachers will be added to the north side, increasing the seating capacity from 900 to 1,500.
The remodeled gym should be ready for use by the volleyball program the fall of 2018.
The building housing the gym, locker rooms and two classrooms was built in 1954. It’s the only building on campus that hasn’t undergone any major remodel, Manfred said.
“It’s been long overdue; the smells are from 1954 it seems,” Manfred said.
Manfred said the capital campaign, started by outgoing President Al Falkner, is about $1.5 million short.
The turf at Joe Albi Stadium is nearing the end of its life expectancy, Greater Spokane League secretary Herb Rotchford said.
This fall begins the 11th year for the current turf.
“In the next year or two,” Rotchford said. “It depends on the annual evaluation.”
That evaluation occurs each August.
The money is in place to replace the turf. It was included in the last bond by the Spokane School District.
“It hasn’t been overused,” Rotchford said.
Vandals did some damage to the turf prior to the 2015-16 school year. But the turf was repaired.