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Turf Finished At Cookeville High

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Cookeville Football one week away from playing on its brand new turf field.

Turf Project Organizer Julie Baker said crews finished work Thursday. Crews completed the in-fill which includes sand and rubber.

“It is so exciting, we have worked on this all year and it is definitely an amazing feeling to have at this point,” Baker said. “It was a good feeling to know that that that was the last step and that they were actually finishing up with the field.”

Baker, Kerri Apple, and Caylor Taylor began the fundraising for the turf field just days before the tornado hit Putnam County. They overcame that and the pandemic to raise more than $700,000 to fund the field for the football, lacrosse and soccer athletes.

“You know, it’s been a long road and it’s been a long year already, 2020 has definitely not been ideal,” Baker said. “I think such an awesome project that a lot of people thought would not happen, a lot of skeptics who thought that we could not get it done, but to to actually have it finished in time for us to play that game next week is definitely exciting for the players.”

The debut of the field made more exciting because arch-rival White County will the opponent. Organizers had hoped to make the deadline to unveil the field on an already special night. The four-week turnaround, not typical, according to Baker.

Football players will get to see the field Saturday morning.

“I mean, they are just buzzing right now with with excitement and everybody’s talking about it,” Baker said. “They’re ready to post pictures and to get out there on the field and and just have that experience of playing on home turf.”

Dozens of local businesses and individuals contributed to the project. The field has been unplayable at times over the last several years because of drainage. Soccer and lacrosse teams have often had to move games to opponent sites.

Baker said it has been all about the young people from the start.

“For the three of us, just knowing that all the hard work and the hours that we put into it, you know, over the past few months has definitely paid off,” Baker said. “And we’re just excited and excited to have this outcome and the final product for the student athletes of high school.”

The final touch for the field will be the replacement of the track surface. School Board members approved that project last week. They hope to complete the work during the three-week period around fall break.


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