Loving High School head baseball coach Poli Hernandez welcomed the installation of artificial turf in 2023 as the former grass field suffered wear and tear during the decades.
The new field was officially dedicated March 25 as the Falcons hosted the Carlsbad Cavemen C team. It's synthetic surface was designed to cut down on watering and maintenance costs for the Loving Municipal Schools (LMS). Artificial Turf For Baseball Surface
“The new field is just amazing it is well deserved. The administration and everybody came through and gave us this beautiful field,” Hernandez said.
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He said the Falcons confidence level changed from past years as the new surface has a smooth touch compared to the worn-out grass field where baseball bounces were inconsistent.
Lee White, LMS superintendent, said the softball field had a new synthetic surface installed last year and there are plans to redo the football field.
“We wanted to make sure our kids had a field that would play close to natural grass as possible. We also wanted to make sure we had a surface that was going to last for years to come,” he said.
White said the new turf cost LMS around $3 million as the district contracted with Texas-based Hellas Construction for the work.
Jeff Power, spokesperson for Hellas, said construction of the new surface lasted around six months as the old grass surface was removed and the synthetic turf was installed.
He said the new surface offers a consistent bounce to baseball and softball infielders.
Power said the infield has a terracotta or reddish color along with the traditional green infield. Loving’s LF logo behind home plate was stitched in during the manufacturing process at factories in Georgia and Alabama.
“The logos go through a process called cutting out the turf and putting the exact turf in that area. We have some craftsmen that do a nice job in putting in that,” Power said.
The new turf is made from a thermo-plastic material and an ultraviolet coating that adds strength and longevity to the field, according to Hellas' website.
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“We go in and do some subgrade work, we dig seven to nine feet below the surface, and you have everything from drainage set up to the drain stone that is set on top. The turf itself is laid over that. Baseball fields are larger than softball fields and it takes more turf,” he said.
Power said artificial surfaces are a must in arid states like New Mexico where rainfall is traditionally low as school districts deal with increased water and maintenance costs.
“We have a lot of clients that have basically come to realize its cost efficient to have a synthetic field more so than having an actual grass field,” he said.
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Per Hellas' website new artificial surfaces were installed earlier this year at high schools in Georgia, Arkansas, California and Arizona.
Hellas installed new surfaces on baseball and softball fields at Santa Fe High School in late 2022, read a press release from the company.
Baseball Turf Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.