FAIRBANKS-Yesterday history was made in the Interior off of Davis Road. The Fairbanks Youth Soccer Association, along with local and state officials, had the official ground breaking ceremony for two turf fields at the FYSA Soccer Complex. Talk of turf fields started 10 years ago and finally they'll be in Fairbanks.
The fields are a huge upgrade for the Interior. It will help level the playing field for Interior athletes where as turf fields are the norm around the state.
The cost is a little bit higher because of the Interior's unique climate. The two fields are about 3.7 million dollars and are estimated to open next spring. They are being built to be NCAA regulation size. 120 yards long and 70 yards wide.
The company FieldTurf will be making the field. They have done other fields in the 49th state and won out the bid. Great Northwest, Inc. is the local contractor installing the field.
Funding and contributions to obtain the new playing surfaces came from various donors and partners like the Ramuson Foundation, Fairbanks Youth Sports, the Tanana Valley Youth Sports Foundation, Fairbanks North Star Borough and others.
There are future plans to erect bleachers, seating and other support facilities for the fields. A high school a soccer team could be the first to set foot on the new fields in 2015.
The fields will be multipurpose so there will be soccer, football, other adult and recreation sports and possibly major sports events on the turf. The rental rates will even be the same.
FYSA President Kip Harmon and others on hand see the fields as vital assets to the local sports community for years to come.
"It's all about the kids and this type of field setup we're going to have is really going to benefit a lot of the kids especially high school age kids as they prepare for their seasons and prepare for the future," Harmon said.
"It took a couple years to get the funding for the turf fields out here but by the local people showing up with matching funds it really helped me be able to get that through the state legislature," Rep. Steve Thompson said. "I'm glad to see we're going to be having this."
"Probably in January and February we're going to get the heads of soccer, football, and parks and rec and we're all going to sit down basically say, 'ok, bring your calendars we're going to set the schedule, " Michael Bork of the Fairbanks North Star Borough said.