Putnam high school’s football field is progressing
BUFFALO — It isn’t often a program builds momentum coming off a 2-8 season, but that’s what’s happening in Buffalo.
The Putnam County school is busy completing its stadium project with the hope that it will be ready for the team’s first home game, Aug. 31 against Tolsia.
“There’s kind of been a renewal of energy to get back into the project and get it going again,” said Bison coach Brian Batman. “It’s been good. I’m pleased with the turnout. I think if everybody comes through with what we need to get it done, I think we can get it done by Week 2. I think we’re on the final stretch.”
The original plan was to play at least one home game on the new field last year, but those plans were laid to rest by a series of delays. Now, though, the facility is making noticeable progress.
A massive pair of stone pillars guards the entrance to the field. Batman said county personnel are currently working on electrical matters, the bathrooms and other plumbing requirements in the concessions building. The scoreboard and play clocks are on order and will be positioned upon their arrival. Drywall has been installed in the entire press box and needs to be mudded and painted.
The home side stands are completed, and Batman said the school plans to transport some of the metal bleachers from the old field, located down W.Va. 62, to the new field. A running track will encircle the football field and Batman expects some work to be done there soon in order to prepare for the installation of the rubberized surface by track and field season in the spring. Some landscaping is required around the field site.
There is also work going on inside the football facilities building that rests between the field and the high school building that opened in 2012. Batman estimates the locker room project alone will cost $60,000 to $65,000.
“That will help the transition a little bit,” Batman said, “because I know some of our kids still want to play up there (at the old field). I know it will help us and the administration, because right now we have to stay here after school and drive everybody to the field.
“You never know what happens there - a kid falls out of the back of the truck. It’s never happened, and thank goodness, but if it does, somebody’s in trouble. So we won’t have to worry about that anymore. We can eat at the school and we can come down here in the air conditioning, because there’s going to be air conditioning in here. We can just relax and get ready for the game. That part of it will be nice to have everything centrally located.”
Batman said his players have also bought into the community spirit and have helped with many projects, like recently pouring concrete for the goalpost supports. The goalpost “necks” are scheduled to be adjusted and set on Thursday, again with the players’ assistance.
“The kids have been involved,” Batman said, “and to have them take pride in something, that’s pretty good, too. Years from now, they can come back with their wife and their kids and look around and say, ‘I did this. I did that.’ That’s pretty neat.”
Batman isn’t sure of any special celebration plans for the opening of the field, whenever that might be. But things will certainly look and feel different. The team has already secured flashy new gold helmets, and a huge golden buffalo - weighing in at a hefty 773 pounds - currently rests in a crate in the facilities building. It will adorn a spot near the entrance.
When it’s all done, Batman said, the team, school and community can feel a sense of accomplishment.
“We’ve got a great group of parents working on this and the locker room projects,” he said, “and there’s been a renewal of spirit and pride to get it done.
“I think the community coming together and the involvement from my players’ parents has been fantastic. I think (time) is the biggest (obstacle). I’ve seen this project at the bottom, and I want to see it at the top.”