By LACY LUSK
Gar-Field’s revamped football field may not be ready for the start of the 2003 season, incoming activities director Rudy Zimmermann said Tuesday.
The Indians, scheduled to open their varsity schedule Sept. 5 at home against Osbourn, may have to play that game elsewhere. Zimmermann has not yet resorted to finding new sites for the Indians’ early season games, but he knows that changes could be unavoidable.
”It looks more and more doubtful that the field will be ready for that first game,” Zimmermann said. ”I was up there [Monday] and they’re just beginning to spread the topsoil. Although I didn’t speak to anyone, you can tell that the field really hasn’t taken root.”
Last fall, sniper-related security concerns led to an overhaul in the fall sports schedules. Gar-Field went 7-4 and made the Northwest Region playoffs despite playing just four home games. In their final five matchups, the Indians’ only home game was a 6-0 loss to Osbourn Park on a soggy playing surface on Nov. 5.
Plans already were in place to put new grass and a new drainage system in the stadium, which had not undergone major renovations since 1978.
”We had a sprinkler system in place, so we salvaged that,” Zimmermann said. ”What they’ve done is upgrade the drainage. From what I can tell, it will look very much like the system that Forest Park has, and they had one of the few fields that was playable by the end of the spring.”
The overhaul at Gar-Field was scheduled to begin May 15, but was delayed by a week because of rain and has been delayed several times since then. In the 2002-03 academic year, the field played host to 74 different events. In the fall, Gar-Field’s football teams are the only ones that use the stadium.
”The most obvious alternative is to play all our games away from home, but that’s tough to do because we’d lose gates and that would come on top of last year’s lost gate with the sniper,” said Zimmermann, who will start in his new capacity on Thursday. ”Another possibility is to find another site; I haven’t even looked into that yet.”
Games could also be moved to other high schools without home games or to middle schools with an acceptable amount of seating. ”Thursday’s my official start, and I know we’ll be looking at it hot and heavy at that time,” Zimmermann said.
Prior to becoming Gar-Field’s AD, Zimmermann served as the school’s boys soccer coach. No replacement has been named for Zimmermann’s old job.