Rolls of AstroTurf arrived at Davis & Elkins College on Friday and officials hope to have the new field surface in place and ready for use by the beginning of soccer practice later this month.
Davis & Elkins College Director of Athletics Ron Palmer told The Inter-Mountain Friday that the new "state-of-the-art" field will have several advantages for the entire sports department, including the newly announced men's and women's lacrosse programs.
"Obviously the weather in Elkins is sporadic," Palmer said. "When it rains, the field gets sloppy.
Construction of the synthetic turf soccer/lacrosse field at Davis & Elkins College is nearing its final phase, as rolls of AstroTurf arrived on campus Friday morning. Here, a worker uses a telehandler to transport the rolls from a tractor trailer to Allen Athletic Fields. It is expected that the field will be complete in three weeks.
Once this turf is in place, the teams will be able to practice and play in any weather condition. It's going to be a big advantage to all of our programs."
The college has a rich tradition of success on the soccer field - including a pair of NAIA men's national championships. Officials broke ground for the new field in May.
This new era kicked off earlier this year with the Finish the Field campaign, a drive designed to bring a turf field to fruition. Palmer said nearly all of the $600,000 has been raised toward the cost of constructing the new playing surface.
"We can't thank the community enough for helping us raise the funds needed for this project," Palmer said. "A lot of money was raised within a short time and we are very thankful. The college, the athletic department and the students are very appreciative."
With the new playing surface and D&E's already well-known soccer program, athletic department officials are excited about future prospects and the expansion of the school's athletic offerings.
"This is a very exciting time for the college," Palmer said. "This will be the completion of what we consider to be a fantastic outdoor complex. This will really bolster our soccer program and take it to another level."
Last season, the D&E men's soccer squad played in the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in more than 25 years, while the women's team got off to its best start in school history - 8-0-1.
The Senators look to continue that success this fall as they enter play in a new league - the Great Midwest Athletic Conference. D&E departed the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference July 1, when that conference permanently disbanded. D&E was a charter member of the WVIAC, joining in 1924.
"The turf will be very beneficial to all of our teams," Palmer said.
"For example, the baseball and softball teams will be able to get outside and jump on the turf on nice days in January. It will be utilized by most of the teams in the athletic department."
Palmer said the turf should be in place within the next three weeks. He said officials are hoping for "about five days" of dry weather for the glue to set up.