MHS coach, AD in favor of adding artificial turf to Joe Quintal FieldWhen the Mitchell School District decided to renovate Joe Quintal Stadium in 2010, one possible upgrade that went to the wayside was the idea of installing artificial turf on the playing surface.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
When the Mitchell School District decided to renovate Joe Quintal Stadium in 2010, one possible upgrade that went to the wayside was the idea of installing artificial turf on the playing surface.
With this year’s dry summer requiring more attention to natural-grass fields across the state, an artificial-turf field could be less expensive for upkeep and maintenance. People who are regularly involved with the field are in favor of adding an artificial turf, but they also know it’s nothing that will happen overnight.
Mitchell High School Activities Director Geoff Gross said he would like an artificial-turf field, but estimated that the cost to be around $1 million for purchase and installation. The 2010 renovations to the stadium came at a cost of $2.9 million and included new locker rooms, goal posts, visitors’ bleachers, a press box and entranceway.
“I think it would be a great positive in our facility,” he said, “but it would cost a lot of money, and that’s not anything we could afford right now.”
Mitchell High School football coach Kent VanOverschelde said he believes the field will eventually have turf installed.
VanOverschelde, whose team plays five home games at Joe Quintal this year, said the benefits of upgrading the surface would make it worth the price, despite the high cost.
“There are great possibilities and as participation in our activities increase, the idea of artificial turf would benefit across the board as far as activities in our school district,” he said.
VanOverschelde added the school district could host area football games during the season, explaining an example would be how the University of Sioux Falls hosts nine-man football games on its field, which is artificial turf. With grass fields, the surface is usually beaten and torn up after one game. Players’ cleats dig into the ground and beat up the natural grass, whereas an artificial-turf field won’t get abused as easily.
A week from tonight, USF’s stadium hosts three games, starting at 1 p.m. The final game between Bridgewater-Emery/Ethan and Canistota starts at 7 p.m. After all six teams walk off the field, the surface will likely look exactly as it did to start the day.
“There are great possibilities in it and as we invest more into our facilities, there is a dividend that will pay off,” VanOverschelde said.
VanOverschelde believes for the project to become a reality, the Mitchell school board would have to be helped out by Dakota Wesleyan University — which plays its home football games at the field — as well as individual donors to help with the financial aspect. This year, DWU plays six of its 10 games at Joe Quintal.
Curt Hart, the athletic director at DWU, said he is not sure whether or not the Tigers will continue playing their football games at Joe Quintal Stadium in the future.
Hart added that the school will continue to use the field for a few years and is not looking to put a football field on campus in the next few years. He said if Joe Quintal Field had an artificial-turf playing surface, DWU would be interested in calling the stadium home for years to come and the school would look to help with the renovation.
“If they decide to go to turf, we’d see if we can help them in some way,” Hart said. “ … We’ve never been brought in and asked if we want to be a part of that. I don’t think they’ve ever looked into that too seriously because of the cost.”
Gross said at this time, the school district is not looking into the possibility of changing Joe Quintal Field’s playing surface, but said he would not be opposed to the idea.
“If somebody came forward with a reasonable proposition, the school district would listen to that,” he said. “At this point, I don’t know anybody who’s doing that.”
Still, VanOverschelde is optimistic his Kernels will someday have the opportunity to play on an artificial-turf playing surface at Joe Quintal Field.
“We still consider it a reality,” he said, “whether or not the decision makers and the ones who write the check do, I don’t know.”