Athletic Complex dedicated

17 years ago

 PRESQUE ISLE, Maine – The first regular season soccer game to be played on the new field turf at the Dr. Gehrig T. Johnson Athletic Complex at Presque Isle Middle School was held last week between the Presque Isle Lady Wildcats and the Fort Kent Warriors.

    Prior to the start of the Aug. 28 game, the new field, which was installed this summer, was officially dedicated.
“I hope you are as proud as I am of this beautiful, all-weather field turf facility … the only one of its kind north of Bangor,” said Lucy Richard, SAD 1 board chair. “Many of you were in attendance here two years ago on Oct. 25, 2005. On that night, both our girls and boys varsity teams hosted Eastern Maine championships against John Bapst and Caribou. Both of those games were played in the muck and the mud. Many people later referred to those games as the ‘Eastern Maine Mud Bowl Championships.’
“With the support of the SAD 1 school committee and the generous financial support of corporate partners, as well as private donors, we have made this all-weather surface a reality,” she said. “We are very pleased that this state-of-the-art facility will be available to our SAD 1 athletes for years to come. It will be available for practice and games, literally 24 hours a day.”
At the December 2006 SAD 1 board meeting, directors voted to replace the former stadium field with man-made turf, which offers a consistent, dependable playing surface during varying and extreme weather conditions.
The advantages of having field turf rather than the former stadium field, which was 16 years old, is that the field is always going to be the same regardless of the weather; field usage will be increased; field turf’s stable playing surface results in fewer injuries to athletes; and Presque Isle is now in the position to be considered to host a soccer state championship game – or track and field regional championship.
SAD 1 Superintendent Gehrig Johnson said the field project cost $650,000, while nearly an additional $100,000 was spent to install a new track.
Coca-Cola and Maine Mutual Group have each agreed to donate $5,000 a year for 10 years or $50,000 each, while Key Bank of Maine has pledged $3,000 a year for 10 years, or $30,000. Buck Construction donated the use of equipment and did the initial prep work.
“Thank you … you are generous corporate partners,” said Richard, “and thank you to all Wildcat supporters here tonight who worked with us to make this project happen.”
A new section of bleachers that was recently installed increases the seating at the Johnson Athletic Complex from 300 to 500.
Crews from Northeast Turf Hue, Inc. did the actual field turf installation. The project began in late May and officially wrapped up Aug. 1.
The South Portland company has installed fields in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and 10 other fields in Maine.