BELLVILLE — When Clear Fork High School squads take the field later this month, football and soccer players will have a brand new surface beneath their cleats.
Workers last week began laying the new artificial surface. The running track will also soon be resurfaced, according to Chris Laux, who chairs the committee for stadium improvements.
Girls soccer has its first home game on Aug. 19 and the football team hosts Granville Sept. 6.
This began as an idea at a boosters club meeting and turned into a full-blown community project.
In January the Clear Fork Athletic Boosters Club — in a collaborative effort with the athletics department — announced the official launch of a capital campaign to raise funds to install synthetic turf on the field at the Colt Corral.
The estimated cost of the project was $900,000.
The goal is to upgrade the playing surface,” Laux said at the time. “And 100 percent of the funds raised will benefit stadium upgrades. If we have extra funds we will consider other projects to fund.”
Other area schools with artificial turf include Madison, Mansfield Senior, Highland, Mount Vernon, Wooster and Marion Harding.
The idea to install turf at Clear Fork first arose in 2011 and some initial inquiries were made, but the project never moved forward. The topic has been brought up on several occasions since, but this past summer conversation began again in earnest and a committee was formed, with Laux taking the lead.
Clear Fork’s football teams have enjoyed unparalleled success in recent years, qualifying for the state playoffs the past two years and winning two Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference football championships.
The girls high school soccer team has a long history of success, including being one of the top teams in the state the past several seasons.
“The timing is right,” Laux said. “The move to the MOAC has been great for Clear Fork. But this isn’t just about sports. It will allow that stadium to get more use. The band will have a good field to practice on and it will give us an opportunity to host football and soccer tournaments in the future.”