By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
The Lafayette Commodores will kick off their 2013 football season on artificial turf at their newly remodeled on-campus stadium.
Along with the installation of rubber-filled artificial grass, the facility will have a new six-lane track and new lighting.
“To have the turf will benefit not just our football program, but all of our programs,” Lafayette athletics director Anthony Hart said. “It can be used for soccer, band practice and a playground for our elementary kids on wet days.
“It’s going to afford us a lot of opportunities.”
Lafayette is the first Northeast Mississippi high school to install an artificial turf football playing field. Two North Mississippi schools – South Panola and Olive Branch – already have it. Tupelo and Starkville have discussed having it installed.
EnviroTurf of Madison, is handling the installation. Lafayette will be the 14th high school in the state to have turf installed. Two of the state’s community colleges – East Mississippi and Gulf Coast – also have artificial fields.
Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Millsaps, Mississippi College and Belhaven also have artificial turf at their home stadiums.
“We wanted a facility we could use year round,” Hart said. “In the past, soccer didn’t have a place to practice when football was still going on. They had to go off campus. Now they can use the game (turf) field or practice field.
“The band will be able to practice on the (turf) field every day during its period.”
Hart, who coached the Commodores to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and ’11, said he consulted with a number of friends in the profession who practice and play on artificial turf fields.
“I talked with them about the pros and cons,” he said. “There weren’t many cons. It should benefit nearly every athletic program we have.”
The field will have a large red and gold “L” at the 50-yard line and red end zones with gold lettering. The soccer field lines will be black.
State high schools with artificial football turf: Biloxi, Jackson Academy,
Jackson Prep, Madison Central, Oak Grove, Ocean Springs, Olive Branch, Pearl, Petal, South Panola, St. Patrick (Biloxi), Wayne County and West Harrison.