HERMISTON, Wash.- They take their high school athletics seriously in Hermiston and now, they are taking the safety of their student athletes to a whole new level.
Kennison Field has a lot to boast. Every piece of its new design either adds to its safety or to the enjoyment of the on-looking sports fans. Tuesday, NBC Right Now had a sneak peek at the field that the contractors can't wait to open up for the people of Hermiston later this month.
"With the support of over 3 million dollars in federal and state grants as well as over 1.4 million dollars raised here locally in Hermiston, you're now seeing what really is one of the finest high school athletic facilities in the North West," said Project Leader Wade Smith.
When the Hermiston School District took on the project of renovating their athletic field they wanted to make sure that their new facility was not just flashy or beautiful, but that it was also safe.
"What you see before us is one of the safest artificial turf fields available on the market today," explained Smith.
When you walk out on to the field you can immediately feel the difference. An extra layer of cushioning is used to prevent injuries like concussions. It is top of the line, but not exactly one of a kind. It's the exact same system that they use at the Dallas Cowboys stadium.
"All construction is tough, so the fun part comes in seeing the pleasure on people's faces," said Bruce Heintz of P&C Construction.
Everyone working on the project has been putting in the hard work, but they say they are proud to be part of a job that will live on for years for people to enjoy. As an added bonus, a good amount of the money spent on the facility went toward hiring local sub-contractors, keeping much of the business in the Hermiston area.
"You look around the site today and most of the contractors here working are local," said Heintz.
"As people drive by and look at this facility and look at our new schools they really say, 'Wow! Hermiston is a place to be. Look at this growing community that supports their youth and community at large, " said Smith.
Athletic fields are commonly put through impact testing to test the shock absorption when running. Kennison Field was put to the test and received what is called a field average G-max of 101, which means it is an ideal surface for athletes to run and play on. The grand opening of the field will be August 23rd.