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Hays High fields get plenty of use, school officials say





Exactly when the four athletic fields were added at Hays High School isn't clear, but it was sometime in the early 1980s.

What is clear is they get a lot of use.

Clint Albers, Hays High athletic director, crunched the numbers for the USD 489 facilities needs committee.

Approximately 190 athletes, 530 physical education students and 85 marching band members, along with visiting teams, will use the fields this school year.

Physical education classes use them as curriculum and weather permit, and the band meets every other day.

"They will use whatever field is lined ... and whatever field is in best condition," Albers said of the band.

No one coordinates field usage. Teachers and coaches just check to see what's available.

The south practice/game field (A) is used for soccer games and some soccer and football practices.

No competitions take place on the north practice field (B).

The third field (C) is the one inside the track.

"All we do with that field now is play our junior varsity/freshman football games, (and) practice on it," Albers said.

All of the football teams and soccer teams also use it sometimes for practice.

"We try and rotate it," Albers said. "If you practice on the same field every day, obviously it wears out that grass and tears everything up. We've tried to make that (field) last longer by rotating around and using different fields."

Soccer teams even have practiced in the buffalo grass.

The fourth field is the baseball stadium.

One water well irrigates all of the fields, but the quantity and rate of water used is regulated by the Division of Water Resources Office in Stockton.

Using city water to irrigate would be too costly, Richard Cain, deputy superintendent, has said in the past.

The board of education has considered artificial turf as a permanent solution.

In November, a motion to install artificial turf on the baseball field and field A for an estimated cost of $1,647,243, died for a lack of second.

In January, the board voted to install artificial turf in the baseball infield for $332,714.

The outfield has been seeded with a mixture of rye and fescue grasses.

The baseball team has "been using the infield," Cain said, "but trying to stay off the outfield to give it a chance to grow."

Games have been played at Larks Park.

One Hays High custodian takes on landscaping duties from March to October, said Francis Hammerschmidt, USD 489 maintenance supervisor.

That includes watering and mowing the fields, and the maintenance department helps with larger projects, he said.

In the past the fields were used extensively by the community, Albers said.

"We've had to curtail a lot of that in the last few years because with the traffic we put on them, it doesn't give us much time to water those fields," he said. "We'd love to have the community use the fields like we used to. It's just a matter of trying to conserve the fields as best we can."