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When fans pack the stands for the Bear River High football team’s first home game of the season on Friday, things will look a little different on the field.

Just in time for homecoming, the school’s new artificial grass field is installed and ready to use. While most fans will get their first glimpse of the new digs on Friday night, the field is designed to give all outdoor sports a boost and bring the school into the modern era of prep athletics.

“It’s going to be so great for all of our outdoor sports,” BRHS Athletic Director Van Park said. “They now have a stadium to play in that can be utilized for more than just a few football games a year.”

The field was manufactured and installed by FieldTurf, a Canada-based company with a manufacturing facility in Georgia that handles similar projects nationwide and internationally.

There is still some detail work to be completed. Workers were busy this week cutting and sewing in the yard marker numbers and adding tiny rubber pellets for cushioning to get it ready for Friday’s football game.

The Bears logo at midfield will be installed sometime in the next week or so. The lettering in the end zones will also be done sometime after the game, but the vibrant red coloring at both ends of the field leaves no doubt as to whose home turf it is.

Park said the new field is the direct result of a major fundraising effort bolstered by the donations of local businesses and individuals, who came together to provide 60% of the $810,000 project cost. The remaining 40% is coming from the Box Elder School District, which committed its share once the private donations were secured.

“We have some citizens at the north end of the county who have come up with some substantial amounts of money,” said Connie Archibald, who represents the Tremonton-Garland area on the school district’s board of education. “It was the citizens who said ‘we want this in our valley.’”

The girls soccer team, coming off its first win in region play in nearly five years last week, is tentatively scheduled to be the first BRHS team to officially play on the new surface when its hosts Logan on Thursday.

On its website, FieldTurf touts the product as a sound long-term investment that carries a substantial cost up front, but saves money in the long run because it doesn’t require nearly as much maintenance work as natural grass. The fact that it doesn’t have to be watered is another big benefit, especially as the Bear River Valley endures a prolonged drought.

The project timeline was a little uncertain at times due mainly to COVID-19 and the supply and labor issues that come with it, but Park said the company hustled to make sure it was completed on time.

“They have their own people and they’ve been working really hard,” he said. “They’ve done a great job.”

Each of the five Cache Valley schools that together with Bear River make up Region 11 in the 4A classification already has an artificial grass field, so the new turf helps bring BRHS up to speed with its peers.

In addition to the generosity of the various donors and support of the school district, Park said the efforts of “some great local workers” to remove the old field were also instrumental in bringing the project to fruition in a timely manner.

“We’re so appreciative of our great community,” he said. “This community, as always, has just really come through.”

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