Sevier County high schools going to turf fields

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- All five high schools in the Sevier County School System will soon have a synthetic surface on its football field.

"That's very rare," Seymour head football coach Jim Moore said late Tuesday afternoon.

So rare, Sevier Co. Director of Schools Dr. Jack Parton said the county will be the only county of its size in the state to feature turf fields at all the high schools.

The school system approved the funding Monday to help pay for the new surfaces. It's expected all construction on the fields will be completed by the start of the 2014 football season.

"What are we gonna sell? We're gonna sell our facilities. They will be people that will want to come to this county so their kids can play on these fields," Moore said.

The Sevier County schools aren't the first in the area to make the switch. It's been a recent trend. Most recently at Grace Christian, Maryville, and Catholic.

"I think it's the maintenance more than anything," Gatlinburg-Pittman assistant coach Lee Hammonds said. "Once you get it installed, there's not much to do."

The project will cost a total of $2.2 million dollars.

Parton said the school board will fund $1.5 million of the construction, with Sevier County High School, Northview Academy, Pigeon Forge, and Seymour coming up with the additional $700,000.

The cities of Sevierville and Pigeon Forge will contribute $600,000 to cover its schools. Seymour will make four $25,000 payments over four years to fill out the final $100,000.

Construction on Gatlinburg-Pittman's field is already underway. It's being funded 100% by the city of Gatlinburg. The new surface is expected to be in place by July 9.

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