Agassiz Field still on schedule in time for season to start

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Craftsmen of FieldTurf Products work to install inlays in the turf in the endzones of the field, which requires close attention to cutting, fitting, and glueing of letters and emblems.

CALUMET — As Agassiz Field nears completion, it is beginning to look like the professional-grade field it will be when it debuts at the end of August.

The field is scheduled to be completed in time for the first home game of the Calumet Copper Kings on Aug. 28, when they will play the Gogebic Miners.

Daniel Skopek, of FieldTurf Products, said his company’s part in the project is moving along with no problems, and should be completed before next Monday.

“I’ve still got a couple days out here,” Skopek said, “but I’m thinking I should be out of here by Saturday or Sunday.”

Whether a football field is considered professional or not depends on a number of factors, Skopek said, including whether end zones and yard lines are painted onto the turf. Agassiz Field has what Skopek called permanent inlays.

“A lot of professional fields are shared with nearby colleges or other professional teams,” he said, “so they’re all green, and the (endzones) are just painted on, whereas you guys are getting a permanent inlaid system, and the lines are all inlaid.”

The inlay is all hand-done, Skopek said, with everything being hand-sheered, trimmed, and hand-glued. Agassiz, when complete, will be NFL-quality.

“The field is professional-grade,” he said, “yes, it is.”

Skopek said the quality of the field alone, in his opinion, is a big step for the community, and will be something athletes and community members will be proud of for generations to come.

“This (field) has a new drainage system that drains professionally,” he said, “there won’t be any build-ups of standing water, or anything like that. But, you can’t help the snow in the area, though.”

The Agassiz Field project is Contract 2 of a three-contract project, that includes the new synthetic turf, and rubberized athletic track. The installation of the turf is the last phase of this contract, which included under-field drainage, with 12-inch outlet pipe into the stormwater system that covered under Contract 1.

Contract 1 which included site prep and storm water system was bid to Bacco Construction, of Iron Mountain, for $657,000. Contract 2 was let to H&H Civil Construction of Collins, Wisconsin, at $1.3 million.

Contract 3 with include fieldhouses and entrance/ticket booth. A new fieldhouse will include locker room space for home varsity and junior varsity teams, and will also have contain new offices for coaches and new training room for players. The existing locker rooms are being updated for visiting varsity and junior varsity teams.

UP Engineers & Architects Inc. project designers said that no work or maintenance on the field should be required for approximately 50 years.