Recent News

T-shirts , t-shirts , get your t-shirts !

By Kim Shahan Statesman Staff Writer 

GRAFTON- The Friends of McKinney Field will be selling t-shirts at Grafton High School's first home game August 30, to raise money for the maintenance contract for the new turf field. Tables will be set up on Sam Bord Drive, as well as, at the entrance of the field . As a special treat, the "Friends" also have a limited number of pullovers for sale on a first come first serve basis. Prices for the shirts are from $10 to $12 and the sizes range from adult small to adult 4XL.

Shown is Friends of McKinney Field Committee Member Dee Dee Mooney sporting the back of one of the t-shirts the “Friends” will be selling at the first home game at GHS August 30.

One Blue Down and One to Go!

The “turf” is in town!

GRAFTON - The first roll of ProGrass Turf for McKinney Field is being transported onto the Grafton High School Campus early Wednesday morning. Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Bob Maynard, Taylor County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sam McDaniel, Grafton High School Principal Dr. Joseph Findley, Grafton High School Athletic Director Rich Bord, as well as, Friends of McKinney Field Chairmen John Bord and Jeff Isner were on hand at the time of the delivery. Work on the field is on schedule and it should be completed in plenty of time for the season opening.

Breaking ground on McKinney Field 

By Kim Shahan Statesman Staff Writer 

GRAFTON- The Friends of McKinney Field committee and comrades took a stand on Grafton High School's (GHS) McKinney Field Monday morning, for the long-awaited ground-breaking ceremony. 
ProGrass, the turf installing company out of Pittsburg, gave their "pitch" to the Taylor County Board of Education back in December, with many "Friends" attending in hopes their dream of a new field would become a reality. 

After an amazing effort by everyone involved, May 13 has marked the beginning of that reality for the "Friends" and the community that has been so eagerly anticipating its arrival. 
ProGrass has installed turf on four fields in W.Va. with outstanding results. 

Hurricane High School used ProGrass for both its football and baseball fields. Football fields were also installed on Point Pleasant High School, Keyser High School, Wheeling Island Stadium and now the GHS McKinney Field will bring that number to five. 
This day will not soon be forgotten for the children, who will soon be tackling, kicking, cheering and running on the new and improved field made possible by the unwavering efforts of the country-wide "Friends" coalition.

First Community Bank donates to 'Friends' 

By Bobby Jennings Statesman Editor 

GRAFTON - First Community Bank has added their name to a long list of contributors with their sizeable donation last week. 

Friends representative Dennis Shumaker stated in his release, "The 'Friends of McKinney Field' want to say thank you to First Community Bank of Grafton for supporting our effort to turf McKinney Field. Our goal has always been to seek the entire community's support for such a worthwhile project, that of providing a safer field for our kids." 

Shown from left to right are Jeff Isner of 'Friends' , Sara Baker and Jodie Toth of First Community Bank, Dennis Shumaker and Lonnie Lough of 'Friends' , Gary

Bolyard and Shaela Duckworth of First Community Bank and John Bord of 'Friends' . 

Shown at right is the new thermometer reading, showing the group's success in raising funds. Because of the generosity of so many, the Friends of McKinney Field are going to be able to give money to the Board of Education for maintenance, as well as, have new scoreboards installed. 

'Friends' express their appreciation to Builders

GRAFTON - In a recent release from Friends of McKinney Field, Dennis Shumaker stated, "The 'Friends of McKinney Field' want to say thank you to Don and Kent Harman, Co-Owners of Builders Service and Supply Company, General Manager Gary Marsh and boom truck operator Hershel Reger for their donation of the boom truck and operators needed to remove the existing scoreboard and flag pole from McKinney Field in preparation of placing 'turf' on the field." 


Shown below from left to right are Gary Marsh, Kent Harman, Dennis Shumaker and Hershel Reger.

CSX Transportation donates to 'Friends'

GRAFTON - CSX Transportation , Inc. donated to the Friend's of McKinney Field project last Tuesday afternoon. 

Pictured is CSX Trainmaster Randy Workman and Roadmaster Rob Barr handing a check for $10,000 to Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John L. Bord on behalf of the "Friends." 

Pictured in the back are Health and Wellness Coordinator Deidra Cornett, Road Forman of Engineers Roger Ford, Retired Chief Clerk Mary Nines, Chief Clerk Patricia Henderson and Yard Master Donna Phillips.

Arch Coal added to the list of 'Friends' contributors

GRAFTON - Several representatives of Friends of McKinney Field gathered with representatives from Arch Coal Friday morning to receive their donation to the 'Friends' effort. 

Arch Coal's Leer Mining Complex presented a check for $10,000 to the Friends of McKinney Field campaign for upgrades to the football and soccer field at Grafton High School. General manager Scott Boylen and property manager Chuck Duckworth presented the check to John Bord, president of the Friends of McKinney Field. 

"The Leer Mine is proud to be a part of the effort to build a safer McKinney Field that will be enjoyed by our kids and community for many years to come," Duckworth said Friday at the check presentation outside the Leer Mining Complex, which is located between Grafton and Thornton in Taylor County. 

The contribution comes less than a year after the Leer Mine donated a lease of several acres for the development of a nonprofit soccer complex in Knottsville. 

"The Leer Complex's 360 employees are happy to support organizations that help foster active healthy activities for Taylor County families," Boylen said. 

Also attending the check presentation were Don Vickers, president, Northern Appalachia Region, Dave Dean, Leer business manager, Jeff Tutalo, Leer HR manager, Jim Lawson, Director of Field Land Management for the Leer Mining Complex; Superintendent of Schools Bob Maynard and Friends of McKinney Field members Jeff Isner and Dennis Shumaker. 

Shumaker noted, "The Friends of McKinney Field are thankful for the generous donation given by Arch Coal. This donation will further enhance the effort by the 'Friends' to complete Mckinney Field with turf and accessories that all our community children will benefit."

Arch Coal recently gave $10,000 to the Friends of McKinney Field. Shown above from left to right are Scott Boylen (President and General Manager for the Leer Mining Complex), David Dean (Business Manager), Chuck Duckworth (Gas Well Manager), Jeff Tutalo (Human Resources Manager), Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Bob Maynard, Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney and “Friends?” leader John Bord, Dennis Shumaker of “Friends” , Jim Lawson (Land Manager) and Jeff Schaffer (Manager of Engineering). 

The heat is on

By Kim Shahan Statesman Staff Writer 

GRAFTON- The Friends of McKinney Field's fundraising thermometer is looking very red these days. They announced last week that their goal of $647,000 for the new turf on McKinney field had been surpassed. 

Before the Taylor Made benefit concert earnings and donations Wednesday night, the thermometer read $705,000. The concert added an additional $5,000 to $6,000 between ticket sales, raffle , donations, and the concessions. 

"We've had a lot of great feedback about the concert. Those who attended are very appreciative of Taylor Made and Shadrach," stated "Friends" member Lorraine Isner. 

Taylor Made announced that they will be touring with the iconic group 'Alabama' this summer in The 2013 Back to the Bowery Tour. Shadrach, previously mentioned in the Mountain Statesman as the 'Skip Mason Band,' consists of John Ziggy Hall (Lead/Backup Vocals, Lead/ Rhythm Guitar, and Percussion ), Skip Mason (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Steve Paris (Keyboards, Backup/Lead Vocals), Dave Sbarra (Bass Guitar, Backup Vocals), and Pat McCleary (Drums, Backup/Lead Vocals). Shadrach's original debut CD, Captured, has been released and is available for purchase on their website at Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John L. Bord announced in the 12th Man column of the Mountain Statesman, that as of week 10, the "Friends'" efforts has pulled in just over $385,000 with over 630 total "Friends" . 

The "Friends" are continuing their efforts to raise additional funds for new scoreboards, future maintenance of the field and sporting equipment. To make a donation please visit for further information.

Taylor Made rocks GHS in benefit concert

Taylor County's own Taylor Made performed a benefit concert for the "Friends of McKinney Field" fundraiser Wednesday night. Pictured above are band members Brian Duckworth, Greg Duckworth and Wendy Williams during that concert. Before the concert rush, the "Friends" announced their goal of $647,000 had been surpassed by a new total of $705,000. Help support our local "Independent Artists of the Year" Taylor Made, by visiting The Skip Mason Band opened for Taylor Made at the benefit concert for "Friends of McKinney Field" Wednesday night. Skip Mason is the owner of Mirage Sound Company located in downtown Grafton. It is a professional full-service sound and lighting company, as well as a discount musical equipment brokerage house. They provide sound reinforcement, stage lighting, recording facilities and discounts on brand name instruments, equipment and lighting. Visit their website www. or call 304-265-3950 . The "Friends" are continuing their efforts to raise additional funds for new scoreboards, future maintenance of the field and sporting equipment. 

To make a donation please visit for further information.

Kiwanis enjoys presentation from Friends of McKinney Field

GRAFTON - The Kiwanis Club of Grafton held their regularly scheduled meeting at Jerry's Restaurant and Lounge on Thursday, March 21, at 7 p.m. with the Friends of McKinney Field in attendance to present a program of how they raised the money needed to reach their goal of having turf McKinney Field. Kiwanis meets the first and third Thursdays of each month at Jerry's at 7 p.m. New members are always welcome.

Shown from left to right are Jeff and Lorraine Isner (Friends of McKinney Field), Matt Taylor (Vice President of Kiwanis of Grafton) and Frank Sturm (Friends of McKinney Field).

Jay Kalo, Kiwanis Treasurer, is shown as he presents the Kiwanis donation to John Bord, President of Friends of McKinney Field. Donations are still being collected by the Friends of McKinney Field and are greatly appreciated.

GCH rallies together to support the "Friends" cause

By Kim Shahan Statesman Staff Writer 

GRAFTON- Grafton City Hospital staff and administration were prompted with letters February 25 requesting donations for the Friends of McKinney Field cause. Grafton City Hospital Administrator Patrick Shaw stated in the request, "Now, I ask each of you to join me in making a tax-deductible donation to the 'Friends of McKinney Field.' All of the money we collect will be pooled together to represent one large donation on behalf of Grafton City Hospital. No amount is too small to help in meeting this very worthwhile cause." Dr. David Bender MD spearheaded the rally for donations from the medical staff members. A month has passed since the request, and the efforts of the staff and administration has been extraordinary. The amount accumulated by the hospital for the "Friends" cause totaled a staggering $17,050. 

Jeff Isner on behalf of the "Friends," accepted the donation from Shaw Tuesday afternoon. The benefit concert featuring Taylor Made is scheduled for March 27 in the Grafton High School auditorium. 

The doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $20. To pre-order your tickets, please call 304-669-0529 / 304-476-5985 / or 304-290-6019. For more information: www. Also visit Taylor Made's website

Friends of McKinney Field - A Community Effort

Check out the latest news story by WBOY on the community effort to help make improvements to McKinney Field.  View Story

Friends of McKinney Field battle the cold to support Roadblock to raise funds

The Friends of McKinney Field battled the cold weather on Saturday March 2nd to help raise funds for the McKinney Field turf project.  Multiple roadblocks were setup around Grafton and manned by GHS students and athletes. We would like to thank all of those who stopped by and made donations. Although the weather was cold it did not stop these GHS students and volunteers from getting out helping our project.  A Big Thanks to all who helped and volunteered time.


A big thanks to Grafton Mayor Tom Bartlett III for stopping by our roadblock and making a donation.

Roadblock Photo from our good "friends" at the Mountain Statesman

Friends of McKinney Field receive $20K from Taylor County Commission

Grafton - The Taylor County Commission expressed their appreciation to and support of the Friends of McKinney Field by recently donating $20,000 to the project. Taylor County clerk Georgianna Thompson is pictured above forwarding the commission's check "Friends" representative Frank Sturm.

City pledges $7,000 to FMF

 By Matthew Trout Statesman Contributor 

GRAFTON - At the regularly scheduled Grafton City Council meeting Tuesday, the council members unanimously voted to give $7,000 to Friends of McKinney Field (FMF).  Grafton Mayor G. Thomas Bartlett, III had asked Grafton Finance Director Larry Richman at a previous meeting to determine how much the city could contribute to the new artificial turf at McKinney Field. Richman reported, after speaking with Grafton City Manager Kevin Stead, that the city could afford $6,500 or $7,000 for the project.  

Councilman Jerold P. Isner quickly made a motion that the city contribute $7,000, which was unanimously approved by the members. 

To learn more about Friends of McKinney Field, check out www.friendsofmckinneyfield. org, or Like the organization on Facebook. To make a donation, make your check out to Grafton High School, with Friends of McKinney Field on the memo line, and send it to P.O. Box 341, Grafton, West Virginia 26354.

Grafton Rotary Club gives a generous donation to FMF

By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor


Grafton Rotary Club members presented a check for $5,850 to Friends of McKinney Field at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Pictured in the front row from left are Dan Pauley, Brenda Rosier, Mary Tucker, Brenda Thompson, Judy Miller, Barbara Lough, Lonnie Lough, Jeff Isner, Lorraine Isner, Frank Sturm, Arnold Kuhl and Sam McDaniel. Pictured in the back row from left are Mark Zeck, Bob Knotts, Mike Nestor, G. Thomas Bartlett, III, Kermit ?Butch? Bias, Benny Carringer, Jim Liller, Orville Wright, Kevin Stead and Larry Richman.


GRAFTON The Grafton Rotary Club welcomed Frank Sturm, Jeff and Lorraine Isner, and Lonnie and Barbara Lough to its regular meeting on Wednesday , Feb. 13. These members of Friends of McKinney Field (FMF) were in attendance to give the club an update on the progress thus far in securing artificial turf for the Grafton High School facility. The members of FMF were praised for the phenomenal progress the group has made in this endeavor.

Lorraine Isner fielded questions from the Rotarians concerning the installation of the field and the safety of the product. She informed the members that the new surface at McKinney Field will open up opportunities for all of the students of Grafton High School, as well as, the community youth sports leagues.

The members spoke of the many hours in research and fundraising FMF volunteers have put forth, and how well it is paying off.

 "There is nothing more powerful than the heart of a volunteer," Grafton Rotary Club President Sam McDaniel stated. "This community is truly blessed."  McDaniel read a statement prior to the presentation of a donation to FMF.  "We are happy to announce that through a donation by the Rotary Club of Grafton and through individual donations by Rotary Club members, a contribution of $5,850 is being made to the Grafton High School McKinney field Turf Project," McDamiel stated.

"We present this contribution in recognition of the hundreds of hours Lorraine Isner has volunteered as a Rotarian to serve the youth of Taylor County and in recognition of her dedicated efforts to our youth as a Grafton High School coach, where she has led our girls' soccer teams to a AA state runner-up title and a AA state championship title," McDaniel concluded.

The contract is signed

~BOE signs contract with ProGrass to install turf on McKinney Field~

By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor


FMF member Jeff Isner addressed the Taylor County Board of Education at its regular meeting Tuesday, to update the board on current donations to McKinney Field.


PRUNTYTOWN - The Taylor County Board of Education members in attendance at the regular meeting Tuesday, voted unanimously to sign a contract with ProGrass to start the process of installing artificial turf on McKinney Field at Grafton High School (GHS).

Friends of McKinney Field (FMF) members lined the room at the Taylor County Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening in anticipation of the contract signing.

FMF member Jeff Isner addressed the board first, giving an update of the monies raised thus far for the project. According to Isner, as of Wednesday morning, FMF had $107,000 in the bank account, with a substantial amount left to deposit and a large number of pledged donations. All of these numbers together, including the $350,000 pledged by the board, brings the projected total at $502,395.

"We are nearly half way there," Isner stated. "We have a lot of money coming in. In the last five days, we have received thousands of dollars through the mail. We project that over the next ten days, roughly $20,000 more will be in the mailbox."

 Isner reported to the Mountain Statesman that the mailbox provided $4,000 more Wednesday morning. FMF has sent out a total of 3,800 letters to GHS alumni and have received a great response.

 Isner spoke of the many avenues the organization is following to continue to raise the needed funds. He spoke of a proposed concert that Grafton High School Principal Dr. Joseph Findley is instrumental in organizing, and informed the board that the Grafton Knights of Columbus have planned three donut sales to raise money for the field.

 FMF member Chuck Duckworth spoke of the attendance at the FMF Kick-Off Reception, held last week at GHS. He reported that FMF gained a bunch of new friends at the reception, in right here in Grafton!" Duckworth exclaimed. and a lot of new pledges.

 "It is really amazing to think that we have an international product with national coverage located in our backyard, going Duckworth extended an offer to the board for FMF to provide half of the cost to get the turf at a lower price before March 1, when the price per-square-foot will raise. The board determined that when FMF reaches the $200,000 mark, it will move forward and buy the turf.

Duckworth again explained the different levels of giving, and announced that he has had inquiries from those who wish to purchase the end zone in its entirety.

The different levels of giving include: Bearcat Club - $100-$ 249; Coaches Club - $250-$ 499; Athletic Director's Club - $500- $999; Spadafore Club - $1,000- $4,999; Skinner Club - $5,000- $9,999; and the McKinney Club - $10,000 and up. The club level donors will receive recognition to include a certifi- cate, and a recognition plaque at the school. The Spadafore, Skinner and McKinney club donors will also receive various season sporting events passes.

FMF is also offering two clubs where the donor will be recognized with a certificate: The Square Foot Club donation equates to the cost of one square-foot of the completed field for $7; and The Square Yard Club donation equates to one square-yard of the completed field for $60.

Now is the time to show your Grafton High School spirit, let's keep the donations coming.

To learn more about Friends of McKinney Field, check out www.friendsofmckinneyfield. org, or Like the organization on Facebook. To make a donation, make your check out to Grafton High school, with Friends of McKinney Field on the memo line, and send it to P.O. Box 341, Grafton, West Virginia 26354.

Becky Nicholas was in attendance at the meeting to give the board an attendance update. These numbers reflect the school year, starting on Aug. 23, 2012 and going through Jan. 17, 2013.

In regard to perfect attendance, of the 632 students enrolled at Anna Jarvis Elementary (AJE), 91 had perfect attendance; of the 157 students enrolled at Flemington Elementary (FES), 47 had perfect attendance; of the 275 students enrolled at West Taylor Elementary (WTES), 60 had perfect attendance; of the 712 students enrolled at Taylor County Middle School (TCMS), 77 had perfect attendance; and of the 638 students enrolled at Grafton High School (GHS), 35 had perfect attendance.

Of the 2,414 students enrolled in Taylor County schools, 310 had perfect attendance to this point, making the percentage 23.02. Regarding absences, both excused and unexcused, AJE had two students miss more than 30 day; three students miss over 25 days; three students miss over 20 days; eight students miss over 15 days; 40 students miss over 10 days; and 70 students miss over five days.

 FES had one student miss over 30 days; one student miss over 20 days; three students miss over 15 days; five students miss over 10 days; and 25 students miss over five days.

WTES had one student miss over 20 days; six students miss over 15 days; 26 students miss over 10 days; and 66 students miss over five days. TCMS had four students miss over 30 days; four students miss over 25 days; five students miss over 20 days; 18 students miss over 15 days; 58 students miss over 10 days; and 190 students miss over five days.

GHS had four students miss over 25 days; seven students miss over 20 days; 19 students miss over 15 days; 43 students miss over 10 days; and 178 students miss over five days.

The county totals show seven students missed over 30 days; 11 students missed over 25 days; 17 students missed over 20 days; 54 students missed over 15 days; 172 students missed over 10 days; and 529 students missed over five days.

The report noted that: of students with over 30 absences, at AJE one is a "chronic illness" and will be recoded as such. The second student's parents were charged with educational neglect and the student is now attending school. At TCMS three of the students are homebound and one is expelled, all four need recoded.

 The report further claims in regard to students with over 20 absences, one is a "chronic Illness" student and two are on probation. Of the four students at GHS, all are over 18-years-old and are being dealt with in Taylor County Magistrate Court. Three of the four have been charged with truancy in the past. Of the four students at TCMS, two are expelled, one is on probation and one has chosen to be homeschooled .

Nicholas reported that all of the students with over 15 absences have been dealt with. They are on probation and petitions have been filed.  "The most frustrating thing to deal with is the parents who want to home-school their child just to keep the child out of court," Nicholas concluded.

 The board approved a request from Taylor County Superintendent of Schools Bob Maynard, to expend bond refinancing funds in the amount of $243,127 for lighting upgrades at Grafton High school/Taylor County Technical Center and Flemington Elementary School, HVAC upgrades and installation of C02 detectors at Grafton High school, new commodes and sinks at Flemington Elementary school, an auto scrubber at West Taylor Elementary School and lightning protection at West Taylor Elementary school.

Let's Go Get that Turf!

By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor - 2/8/2013

GRAFTON - Lorraine Isner welcomed a crowd of over 50 to the Mary Battle Studio at Grafton High School (GHS) Tuesday evening for the Friends of McKinney Field (FMF) Kick-Off Reception. GHS Principal, Dr. Joseph Findley gave the blessing as the crowd made their way to the buffet table for refreshments. The GHS Pro-Start Class was scheduled to cater the event, but as winter weather caused school to be closed, the Pro-Start instructor stepped in to provide the spread. It truly seemed like a meeting of old friends, as like-minded people came together to work toward a common goal.

The reception began with a progress report from FMF. Lorraine Isner, FMF member and GHS Soccer Coach, explained that the goal of FMF is to bring a better experience to GHS students through enhancing the facilities at McKinney Field. The group has been meeting for nearly a year now, and its first official act was to be recognized by the Taylor County Board of Education (BOE). This took place in October of 2012, and the ball started rolling to raise the $647,000 needed to make this dream a reality. The BOE came on-board with the project, and through the refinancing of school bonds, found that it had $350,000 to put toward the project. To date, the organization has garnered $139,674 in donations and pledges, and is hard at work to raise the remainder. This puts the total funds gained or pledged at $451,334, well on the way to the needed $647,000. This is a very obtainable goal, and, if the FMF organizers can make it happen, there just might be artificial turf on McKinney Field at the start of the next football season. ProGrass, the company chosen to install the turf was scheduled to have a representative in attendance at the reception, but due to weather conditions in Pittsburgh, where the company is based, the representative was unable to attend. A sample of the product ProGrass will install was displayed, along with information concerning the company, for everyone to observe. FMF member, Chuck Duckworth spoke of the uphill battle that has brought FMF to the level it has reached today, and the optimism the group has toward the completion of the project. 

"What we are here for tonight is to prepare to improve this field ," Duckworth stated. "We have made some really good progress this fall. Over 30% of the students that attend Grafton High School are directly affected by this field . When we become a turf field , it will benefit lots of folks." Duckworth spoke of the limited number of events that can currently be held on McKinney Field and the deterioration of the current playing surface as the events progress. He spoke of the product ProGrass will install and how it is certified by the international governing body of soccer, FIFA. The product also holds an ISO 9001 quality certification. Duckworth informed the crowd that this is a turnkey solution and that every person working on the installation will be a ProGrass employee. This means that from start to finish , no outside contractors are used, making ProGrass responsible for any situations that may arise. ProGrass has over 400 fields under its belt and all reports have been positive regarding the company's customer service and dedication after the product is in place. Duckworth continued by speaking of two years ago, when GHS athletes had to hold games out of town due to the adverse and dangerous conditions of McKinney Field. "This group has been diligent in getting together to make this happen," Duckworth stated. "Let's see if we can make something for the future of Grafton High School." 

A number of Grafton High School coaches spoke up about the benefits of a turf field and the danger of the current conditions . Focusing on the positive aspects, GHS Football Coach Mark Yoho explained, "We have the nicest stadium around. What we don't have to go with it is the field. This field is dangerous . You give them something nicer than what they have, the kids will want to play." Isner indicated that the addition of a turf field will greatly increase the numbers of students who will sign up for the sports programs at the school. "I think we will be much more competitive," Isner stated. 
From a different perspective , GHS Band Director Christopher Rucker explained that the current field conditions greatly limit the band and participation at GHS events by visiting bands.
 "When other bands come , are beauty of our stadium," Rucker stated. "But, as the season progresses and the field deteriorates, we can't offer them a safe place to play." Rucker explained that band uniforms come with slick shoes, and that artificial turf would be amazing. He mentioned that GHS would like to host band spectaculars in the future and that the turf would be an incentive to get other bands to participate. Taylor County Middle School Football Coach Todd Bolyard spoke of all the good things he has heard about ProGrass and the company's commitment after the sale. "I was told that ProGrass is an A-1 first-class organization," Bolyard stated. Rich Bord, GHS Athletic Director informed the crowd that "this is like a Christmas present that is about to be opened. Over the years, I have seen some difficult times with this field . If you go down there right now, you can still smell the kitty litter." Bord was speaking of the extreme efforts that have gone into making the field a playable surface before games, and that at one time, kitty litter was used to soak up some of the moisture. 

"Friends is a misnomer," stated Dr. Findley. "I see so many people in this community working hard toward this project, who have no direct ties to the field. These are not just Friends of McKinney Field; they are friends of this community. "This is a community that is very supportive. This is a community that will roll up its sleeves and get dirty, especially when it comes to the kids. I have no doubt that this project will be successful . This is for our kids and we are going to make it happen!" Dr. Findley continued. "We have been given a tremendous gift by the BOE; $350,000, that is a huge gift. This is not just a field for kids to play ball on. It's a community resource that we have to try and capitalize on. We will make this happen." Dr. Findley concluded. Grafton Rotary Club President and Taylor County Assistant Superintendent of Schools Sam McDaniel stated that the Grafton Rotary Club has voted to donate $1,000 towards the project. "This does not count the individual donations from club members," McDaniel stated. "I am committed to help in any way that I can," stated Delegate to the 49th District Mike Manypenny, as he presented his donation to the organization. Manypenny stated that he has put a request in to the legislature for $5,000. "We may or may not see that happen." 
FMF President John L. Bord thanked everyone for their continued support, and informed the crowd that letters have been sent to a large number of alumni. He indicated that a $5,500 check from an alumnus who lives in California has been received.
 "I went to the mailbox today and it was packed with envelopes ," Bord stated. 
Taylor County has always been a place where residents take care of their own. Over the years, many aspects of this county have been improved upon or added, due to the commitment and generosity of its residents. The sports facilities at Grafton High School are a source of community pride. The current condition of McKinney Field is unacceptable. Let's go get that turf Taylor County. To learn more about Friends of McKinney Field, check out, or Like the organization on Facebook. To make a donation, make your check out to Grafton High school, with Friends of McKinney Field on the memo line, and send it to P.O. Box 341, Grafton, West Virginia 26354.

Friends of McKinney Field Kick-Off Reception tomorrow

Be sure to join Friends of McKinney Field for its Kick-Off Reception tomorrow night, Feb. 5, in the Mary Battle Studio at Grafton High School. 

 By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor 

GRAFTON - The Mary Battle Studio at Grafton High School will be filled with good food, good people, and good ideas Tuesday evening.
 Friends of McKinney Field will hold its Kick-Off Reception at 6 p.m. to inform the community about the future plans to get artificial turf on McKinney Field. A ProGrass contract has been submitted to the Taylor County Board of Education for consideration. A representative from ProGrass is scheduled to be at the reception to answer questions. 

The reception will start at 6 p.m., with meet and greet going until 6:15 p.m. From 6:15 p.m. until 6:20 p.m., guests will be welcomed to the Mary Battle Studio. Remarks by community and school leaders will follow from 6:20 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. From 6:30 p.m. until 6:50 p.m., a representative from ProGrass will give a presentation, and will answer questions from 6:50 p.m. until 7 p.m. Closing remarks will be from 7 p.m. until 7:05 p.m., with social time to follow. According to John L. Bord, who spearheaded the campaign, the organization has about $46,000 in the bank, and another $40,000 committed to be donated. "The response we have gotten has been great so far," Bord stated. "We look for more to come rolling in, as we just mailed out 4,000 letters to Grafton High School alumni. We still have another 3,000 letters to go out." Bord also informed the Mountain Statesman that Greer Industries has agreed to provide the stone that makes up the base and contributes to drainage, at a significant discount of 40 to 50%. "With the amount of stone we will need, this represents a savings of $30,000 to $40,000," Bord continued. "We have been in contact with local truck drivers asking them to donate their time in delivering the stone, and the response has been great." Friends of McKinney Field is excited about the reception Tuesday evening and look forward to sharing all the current information on the effort with the community. Everyone is invited, including parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents, alumni, friends, students, student athletes, band members, business owners, and anyone else who holds an interest in this community. 
"I am very excited about the future opportunities that are going to be available," stated Friends of McKinney Field member Lorraine Isner. "Not only are these opportunities going to benefit the high school and middle school, but the entire community. I think this will help grow our sports programs with more students taking advantage of the opportunity, and the band will grow as well. It's a win-win situation."

The total cost to complete this project is $647,000. With the Taylor County Board of Education contribution of $350,000, this leaves a fundraising goal of $297,000. Friends of McKinney Field have made it easy for interested individuals to be a part of this effort. Monetary donations are set in a club-level format. A donation of $100- $249, Bearcat Club; $250- $499, Coach Club; $500- $999, Athletic Director Club; $1,000- $4,999, Spadafore Club; $5,000- $9,999, Skinner Club; and for a donation of $10,000, or more, McKinney Club.  There is also a "Buy a Square" program, which allows contributors to buy a square foot of the new field for $6, and a square yard for $60.  McKinney Field hosts 80-90 events annually. Natural grass cannot sustain such a large schedule demand. The field only supports main events, which causes extensive damage to the baseball outfield , where football practices are held. With heavy use natural grass deteriorates leaving holes, divots and bald spots, resulting in packed dirt and mud. Players risk injuries to their ankles, knees, eyes, and a higher propensity for concussion. 
Friends of McKinney Field have been hard at work to make this dream a reality. To make a donation, make your check out to Grafton High School, with Friends of McKinney Field on the memo line, and send it to P.O. Box 341, Grafton, WV 26354. Check out Friends of McKinney Field online at www., or Like the group on Facebook.

20K given to Friends of McKinney Field

By Bobby Jennings Statesman Staff Writer

GRAFTON - As Taylor County watches with great anticipation to see if the Friends of McKinney Field are going to be able to make their $250,000 down payment to ProGrass by February 15, the Taylor County Commission demonstrated their faith in the group by giving them $20,000 last Tuesday evening.  Frank Sturm was present on behalf of the group to receive the donation. Commissioner David Rusty Efaw notified Sturm of the donation immediately after opening Tuesday's meeting. 

Chip Vanalsburg, General Manager for Frontier Communications , was present to address the commission Tuesday night. Vanalsburg explained that he was present to introduce his company to the commission. After explaining that Frontier is desiring to set up a private to public partnership with the county, Vanalsburg said, "We are looking for ways that we can develop a good relationship." Vanalsburg explained that Frontier Communications purchased Verizon properties in West Virginia and thirteen other states in 2010. Since that purchase, Frontier Communications has invested $290 million in upgrading its service in the state. Since July 2010, 136,000 additional homes in West Virginia have broadband internet available . This increase has raised the state from 62% of its residents having broadband available to just over 80%. Vanalsburg explained that Frontier's progress was made possible by a partnership between the company and the state. "We were contracted to put fiber optics in schools, courthouses and police barracks," explained Vanalsburg. He continued, "Access to the internet is where our future success lies." Vanalsburg further advised that it costs about $50,000 per mile to build a fiber optic system, and that if it wasn't for the program , such progress would have been impossible. Commissioner Efaw interjected how the commission had tried to work with broadband carriers in the past, but that they were never able to "meet the formula" for the project. Vanalsburg noted that the new Frontier does not work off of the formulas, but admitted that there were areas where it is "not going to make financial sense for us to get them internet." As for areas introduced by Vanalsburg as being ineligible, he informed the commission that Frontier Communication had partnered with Hughes Net to offer those homes internet access.  "We have that partnership with them in a lot of those rural communities," explained Vanalsburg . He further explained, "If we get out there, or when we get out there, it is not going to hurt. There will be no early termination fees for those residences to switch from Hughes Net to our broadband." Commissioner Dave Gobel then asked Vanalsburg, "How can you help the courthouse?" Vanalsburg responded, "Because of the state negotiating contracts, you can get a cheaper price."
Commissioner Efaw then requested , "We would like to have a price quote so that we can apply for a grant and get the fiber optics that are here connected."
Upon agreeing to send an engineer to the courthouse to inspect its current system, Vanalsburg continued his presentation. He explained that Frontier Communications had 'turned up' Scranage Road, an area along Route 50, Thornton, a portion of 119 North, Pruntytown and a section of Valley Falls Road. "1,500 households have been 'turned up' in Taylor County," noted Vanalsburg. Vanalsburg further noted that since 2010, that Frontier Communications had spent just shy of $400,000 in the Taylor County plant.  After his presentation, Vanalsburg was questioned by commissioner Gobel about their "Great Frontier Donate" program . Gobel wanted to know if the program could benefit Sturm and the Friends of McKinney Field. Vanalsburg gave a quick explanation of the program and how Frontier Communications would pay the Friends of McKinney Field $85 per household that the group could get to switch from Comcast to Frontier Communications . 

In old news, the commission discussed their continued efforts to get city water to the residents of Frog Run. Efaw announced that he received information from the Army Corps of Engineers that the $10,000 coming through them for the project would be available in late February. Gobel noted that he had been in contact with Senator Bob Williams and that Williams would be working with the governor's office.


A new way to 'Like' Friends of McKinney Field

By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor

GRAFTON In addition to the Friends of McKinney Field website at, followers of this effort to improve the playing field at Grafton High School can now "Like" Friends of McKinney Field on Facebook.

The Facebook page has been developed to keep those interested in the project up to date on current happenings.

At a recent Friends of McKinney Field meeting, the organization discussed mailers that are going to be sent to Grafton High School alumni to solicit donations toward the project. The organization has addresses from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, but it is still seeking addresses for the years 1981, 1988 and 1989. Anyone who has addresses for those years can contact Frank Sturm at (304) 669-0529, or Dee Dee Mooney at (304) 290-6019.

Also on the agenda, was the Friends of McKinney Field Kick Off Reception. The event will take place in the Mary Battle Studio at Grafton High School on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m. Representatives from ProGrass have been invited to attend, and the Grafton High School ProStart Program will be catering the event. The goal is to raise $300,000 through contributions and donations . The $300,000, in addition to the $350,000 earmarked for the project by the Taylor County Board of Education, will fund a world-class athletic facility for multiple sports programs, physical education and the arts, including the Grafton High School Band.

 The organizers have been busy, and donations are starting to come in. The organization is planning to start a Foot Club and a Yard Club, which will allow individuals to have a sense of ownership through their donations.

 As of now, the Foot Club will allow a donor to purchase a foot of the new field for a set donation. The Yard Club is the same. A certificate of recognition will be given to those who donate through the Foot Club, or Yard Club.

 If you are interested in making a donation to Friends of McKinney Field, please send your check to Friends of McKinney Field, P.O. Box 341, Grafton, WV 26354. Please remember to make your check payable to Grafton High School, with Friends of McKinney Field in the memo line.

 Now is the time to make this dream a reality.

Board of Education impressed with ProGrass

Posted: December 21, 2012
By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor


PRUNTYTOWN The regular meeting of the Taylor County Board of Education on Tuesday, Dec. 18, started with a moment of silence in honor of the tragic deaths of 20 children and six staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The regular aspects of the meeting were over quickly, as the board was set to discuss the presentation from ProGrass, given at a special meeting held on Dec. 4. The company was at that meeting to answer questions from the board, and the public, about the process of installing artificial turf on McKinney Field at Grafton High School. "I thought the presentation was outstanding," stated Taylor County Superintendent of Schools, Bob Maynard. "I think that they were well prepared and able to answer all of the questions we all had."

Maynard informed the board that since the presentation, he has been researching the company and has gotten back nothing but positive responses. "They seem to be a very reputable company, and I like that they do the job from beginning to end," Maynard explained.

"I searched on the Internet and the only thing I found was good news," stated board member Judy Barney. "I liked the way they explained the drainage, and that they want to conserve water."

 Board member Alan "Coach D" DePiano stated that he is "very excited about the presentation, the Middle School field and various other surfaces throughout Taylor County schools.

 Thomas explained, at the Dec. 4 meeting, the installation procedures, and how the installation takes care of drainage issues. He explained that the current clay base at the field can be retained, and that the current drainage system can be utilized in conjunction with the new surface.

 "I was very impressed with the after service they have proven to provide," stated board member Melissa Knotts. "Their presentation made me feel very comfortable , I commend the committee (Friends of McKinney Field) for bringing this company to us."

 Maynard informed the board that there are several places, where ProGrass has installed artificial turf on one field, and then has been asked to come back and install turf on other facilities.

 A representative for Friends of McKinney Field, Chuck Duckworth, was on hand to give the board updates of the organizations efforts to date, and to recommend that the board choose ProGrass as the company to install the field at Grafton High School.

 Duckworth informed the board members that the communications committee has been working on establishing giving levels and recognition in fundraising activities. Friends of McKinney Field are currently working on a Foot Club and Yard Club proposal, which would allow students, parents, staff and community members to have the feeling of ownership in the project. The proposed fundraiser would supply donors with certifi- cates of recognition when they donate enough money for a foot of the football field, or a yard.

 According to an update provided to the board by Duckworth: Friends of McKinney Field recommends accepting the ProGrass proposal of $647,000. The proposal includes turnkey design/build with ProGrass 40 oz. blend fabric and %100-rubber infill . The latest update includes relocation and preparation of removed soils for seeding (by others) at no additional charge.

 Friends of McKinney Field recommends that the Board of Education sign a contract to purchase the fabric to freeze the project costs. ProGrass will obtain and store the material until construction.

 Duckworth was asked about a recent proposal to enlist the assistance of a professional fundraising organization.

 "We have not done that," Duckworth stated. "We are a community that helps ourselves ."

 As for the $250,000 needed company is very reputable, and fair, and the price is much lower than what we talked about. I think that we are well on the way to be able to accomplish something. I think it would only benefit our county."

 ProGrass has quoted a price of $647,000 for a turnkey installation , meaning that ProGrass will install the field from beginning to end, using only ProGrass representatives . This negates the use of sub-contractors , and maintains the company's warranty.

 In the Dec. 4 presentation, ProGrass President, Robert W. Thomas stated that the company would remove the topsoil from the field , and stockpile it to be used for other venues, at no extra cost. This was another impressive aspect to the presentation, as the topsoil can then be used to repair the Taylor County to make the material purchase, some board members indicated that they were not ready to make that decision at this time.

 At a previous Friends of McKinney Field meeting, Thomas had quoted an overall price of $647,000. They can stick by that quoted price, if the actual synthetic material is ordered before March. This would require a commitment of $250,000 before March, to lock in the price of the material, which Thomas stated will go up six cents per square foot in March. If the $250,000 is spent for the material, it will be purchased and stored at a facility in Georgia. "The board has stepped up with a major contribution, and with everybody in Taylor County working to get this done, it is a tremendous cooperative effort," Maynard stated.

 "I don't know, if we gave the $250,000, and they started making the turf, and we are short, are we going to lose that?" asked board vice-president Dick Teagarden . "Are the boys and girls going to lose out because of that?"

 "Right now, I don't feel comfortable in saying let’s just purchase the turf," stated Knotts. "Let's see where we are in a couple months."

 "I'm not recommending that we put the $250,000 in at this time," Maynard replied. "I just want to start the contract proceedings."

 The Taylor County Board of Education voted to grant Maynard the opportunity to start the contract process with ProGrass.

 Friends of McKinney Field are hard at work raising the remainder of the funds to make this dream a reality. Check out to see how you can help.

Commission seeks to find funds for McKinney Field

Posted: December 17, 2012

By Bobby Jennings Mountain Statesman Staff Writer

GRAFTON Frank Sturm was present during last Tuesday evening's Taylor County Commission meeting on behalf of Friends of McKinney Field. Sturm addressed the commission about the desires of t h e group to transform McKinney Field from a natural grass field to that of an all-season , all sport, artificial surface. Sturm explained that the group started with its mission back in October of 2011, when it commissioned the expertise of a local engineering firm to inspect McKinney Field. During that inspection, McKinney Field was tested, with a variety of estimates being offered , as to what could be done to improve its usability, as well as, ensuring safety for the players.

 The initial price being considered for the field was $1.2 million. Through persistent research, Friends of McKinney Field have been able to cut the cost of the project in half. Sturm explained, "We are right at the trigger point of signing a contract." Sturm explained that the Taylor County Board of Education had allocated $350,000 to the group for the field . He also noted that the board had developed an account for the group in which donations could be deposited. He further explained that with what the group has in monetary donations and materials, that they were around $250,000 away from playing football on an artificial surface at Grafton High School this coming August.

"We have already saved the taxpayers of Taylor County a half million dollars," emphasized Sturm. He further noted that the new field will enable Pop Warner, the Taylor County Middle School football team, the Grafton High School Bearcat football team, as well as, all of the soccer teams to be able to play on the same surface. Sturm further explained that current plans include the artificial surface covering the entire field , including the area between the field and track. "I'm here to tonight to lobby to see if the commission will help us with a monetary donation to help make this happen by August 1, 2013," stated Sturm. He further explained that the school board is reluctant to sign for the group t o u s e any portion of the $350,000 until the group can get an even smaller target.

 Commissioner Tony Veltri questioned Sturm, "How much would like to have from us?" Sturm re sponded , "$250,000." After a short chuckle by all, Sturm answered, "Honestly, whatever you can help us with." Veltri, turning to his fellow commissioners, "What do you think fellas? Let's look and see what we can come up with?" Commissioner David "Rusty" Efaw answered "Let's set him up on the schedule for the last of January." Commissioner Dave Gobel noted that there was a coal methane account that could be used for recreation, that he believed contained about $18,000. Sturm responded, "We are just asking for your help. Whatever you can do will be greatly appreciated." The commissioners agreed to check to see what funds were in what accounts in preparation to give Sturm an answer during the January 22 meeting. Before Sturm left Tuesday's meeting, he noted that those interested in donating to the project can write checks to "Grafton High School," noting on the memo line that it is for McKinney Field. He further explained that John Whitescarver was working with the group to monitor the funds, making sure that they are put into the correct account. As Sturm was ready to depart , commissioner Veltri noted, "You and the rest of your committee are to be commended for taking on this great task."

ProGrass delivers pitch to BOE

Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

BY: Matthew Trout Statesman Editor
GRAFTON A special meeting of the Taylor County Board of Education (BOE) was held on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Mary Battle Studio in Grafton High School. The board met to receive a presentation from ProGrass about installing artificial turf on McKinney Field. 

A large number of the Friends of McKinney Field Organization were in attendance to lend support and ask questions of the ProGrass representatives. 
Chuck Duckworth, representing Friends of McKinney Field, introduced Robert W. Thomas, CEO of ProGrass, and stated, "We have met with this company, seen a lot of their work and are very impressed."

ProGrass, a Pittsburgh, Pa. company, started in 2002. Since that time, the company has installed over 400 fields across the United States. One field was installed in Barrow, Alaska, on the permafrost. High-profile university clients include: Jacksonville State University in Alabama, University of Louisiana at Lafayette , California University of Pennsylvania, as well as, Seton Hill University, and a baseball field at Clemson University in South Carolina. 
 A large number of the clients that have utilized ProGrass are high school sports complexes. In nearby Pennsylvania, two close examples can be found at Albert Gallatin High School and Waynesburg High School and Connellsville High School. 

 ProGrass has a very strong presentation in West Virginia as well, four fields have been installed by the company with remarkable results. Hurricane High School used ProGrass for both its baseball and football fields , Keyser High School had its football field installed, Point Pleasant High School now enjoys its football field , and the Grafton High School Bearcats were able to bring home a West Virginia State Championship after playing on a ProGrass installed field at Wheeling Island Stadium. 
 ProGrass boasts of a turnkey operation, which means that from concept to installation , ProGrass employees are responsible for every aspect of the installation. 
 "From sales to site installation and maintenance, you will only deal with people coming out of our office," stated Thomas. "The turnkey concept is critical for the success and the life of your product." 

Thomas noted the ProGrass 5P Performance System consists of: People, who believe that their reputation depends on the unparalleled performance of every field ; Product, the word's only STC Certified , ISO 9001 quality and FIFA (the International Gov- erning Body of Soccer) preferred turf; Preparation of the site with their own people and equipment; Professional installation with experienced in-house personnel; and Proactive maintenance to ensure that every field continues to perform with excellence. 
 "Our company has been recognized as leaders in the industry," Thomas stated. "This company will come in, deal with what you have at the price we present, and warrant it from the bottom up." 

Thomas explained that an eight-year top to bottom warranty is included with the original price quoted. He also stated, that if the board decides to go with a yearly maintenance contract, the warranty will extend to nine years. The ProGrass representatives estimate that the field will last, with regular maintenance, approximately 12 to 15 years. 
Thomas explained that the field could also be a revenue building addition to the community . With the large number of events possible on the field in a year, many more school, or community functions can take place than was ever possible with a grass field . This creates program equity. Not only can the field be used for football and soccer, it can also host band spectaculars and youth sports programs without damaging the surface. 
 "This field will create a very safe, durable and fair playing surface for all who participate," Thomas stated. "It will be a venue for using as much as need be." 
   When asked about the safety for players on the field, Thomas informed the crowd that the surface provides enough return energy for athletes to perform, and for the energy to spread out and minimize the frequency of concussions. 

Thomas stated that studies have shown that athletes with lower extremity injuries can rehabilitate two weeks earlier because of the constancy of the surface. The synthetic turf eliminates hard-packed mud where grass used to be, and, the product won't freeze. Thomas explained the installation procedures, and how the installation takes care of drainage issues. He explained that the current clay base at the field can be retained, and that the current drainage system can be utilized in conjunction with the new surface. "What about the eight or ten inches of new topsoil?" Board Vice-President Richard Teagarden asked. 

Thomas explained that the topsoil will be removed and stockpiled to be used for any other purpose the board sees fit. He stated that the removal will not damage the soil, and that the grated soil can be an advantage in other areas. Thomas explained, that although the process is usually done at an additional charge, ProGrass will remove the topsoil from McKinney Field, and store it at another site, and keep the price as is. 

Many other questions were raised from both the audience and board members alike. All were answered promptly, and satisfactorily. In all, after the contract has been finalized, the work will take between 45 and 50 days to complete. At a previous Friends of McKinney Field meeting, Thomas had quoted an overall price of $647,000. They can stick by that quoted price, if the actual synthetic material is ordered before February. This would require a commitment of $250,000 before February, to lock in the price of the material, which Thomas stated will go up six cents per square foot in March. If the $250,000 is spent for the material, it will be purchased and stored at a facility in Georgia. 

Recently, the board committed $350,000 to the project, provided that Friends of McKinney Field can raise the remaining funds. 
Members of the organization requested that the board consider using $250,000 of that money to go ahead and make the purchase of the material. 
The board will consider this option at the Tuesday, Dec. 18 regular meeting at the Taylor County Board of Education office in Pruntytown.

Will we use ‘ProGrass’ on McKinney Field?

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012
BY: Brian Moore

Robert W. Thomas, the President, and Thomas (Tom) Rombach, the Director of Site Development and Quality Assurance Manager, provided the Friends of McKinney Field (Friends) with a comprehensive look at their product here in the Mary Battle Room at Grafton High School last Thursday night.

The ProGrass Company has been in business for ten years, and has installed artificial turf to no less than 400 fields during that time span. Plus, more importantly, the company has never had to replace any of its original jobs for the duration of those ten years.

Thomas talked with the Friends about his product, and what he calls: the ‘Five-P Performance’ of ProGrass, which operates out of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.


People! -- “We need customers, and we need to keep them,” Thomas said. “So, we must be professional in all aspects of our business. We must do things right, and please the people that are involved in our projects. That is the only way to assure that we will have repeat customers in the future.”

Product, that lasts! -- “We must present the most-durable product in this business,” Thomas stated. “We must provide our customers with a high safety rating, as well as, a reputation that under our eight-year guarantee, we have not had to replace any turf, football, soccer or baseball, that we have installed in ten years. We understand that if you are going to take the time and effort to raise the dollars and cents, then we need to deliver the highest-quality product that you are expecting to install on your facility. Our product is heat resistant...We have several fields in Texas, and one in Africa. It is cold-resistant...We have a field in Alaska. And it is not affected by altitude...We have a field at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Closer to home, we have done projects for Alderson-Broaddus College and Wheeling Island Stadium, as well as, Parkersburg, Keyser, Washington, Point Pleasants and Hurricane High Schools here in West Virginia.” 

Playability! -- “We also must provide a safe and durable field for, in your case, football and soccer practice, as well as, those games,” Thomas said. “We have past customers that tell us that they hold as many as 60 to 70 events a year on their fields, and they are still in pretty good shape.” 

Professional Service! -- “We have our own experienced people that are vested in their work,” Tomas said. “We strive to install the best possible playing surface in the business, and we want to stay on as partners with our customers is the future, with our professional maintenance people always being available by telephone to work through any problems that may rise up.”

And, Protection! -- “Mursa and Staff can not grow or spread on our surfaces with this product,” Thomas said. “Injuries are going to happen, and you certainly can not prevent all of them, but our product has been proven to reduce the stress on the lower extremities of the body. It is also AEPA (American Educational Purchasing Agencies) approved.”

Next, Rombach told the Friends that he thinks his company’s blend product would be best for the Grafton project...”It is by far the best product that we have to offer,” he said. “It is a 40-ounce blend, parallel-slick, multi-fragmented fiber that give you an all rubber surface, which is the best product you can buy for the price.”

Rombach told the Friends that they are looking at an eight-to-12-inch grade-off for stoning and draining access, and a 260-foot-wide by 360-foot long playing surface. He also said that it would take about 60 working days for installation. Rombach also pointed out that a bridge would be built for their trucks to protect the track, located around the field.”

The price that was placed on the table by ProGrass for the turf-project at McKinney Field was $647,000, only two-thirds of what another company had presented to the Friends.

However, to lock in that price, ProGrass would need a $250,000 down-payment for the cost of the material needed for the actual turf, prior to December 31, 2012.

A committee of the Friends of McKinney Field and Bob Marnard, the Superintendent of the Taylor County Board of Education, are scheduled to meet to discuss this proposal.

One step closer to turf 

By Matthew Trout Statesman Editor

Published: October 29th, 2012, Mountain Statesman

 FLEMINGTON At the Taylor County Board of Education meeting last Tuesday, Oct. 23, a contingent from Friends of McKinney Field where present to address the board.

 "Tonight we are here to share the concern about the playing surface at McKinney Field," Chuck Duckworth started. "I'm just one of a whole bunch of people interested in McKinney Field. We are just some ordinary folks with a passion for excellence."

 Duckworth was in attendance, along with other Friends of McKinney Field members, to clear up some areas of miscommunication.

 Duckworth explained to the board that there are two paths to repairing McKinney Field. These two paths were presented at a Friends of McKinney Field meeting recently by Thrasher Engineering.

 The first path would be to repair the existing surface at the field , and repair the field at Taylor County Middle School.

 This would require time and money to accomplish, and would include a year of idle time for the fields to grow a root base for the grass. This path would impact all of the organizations that use the field by its non-use .

 "About 200 fall student athletes , 30% of the school, have an impact on that field," Duckworth explained. "Every student in this county goes through the high school."

 He further explained, that according to the engineers, the repairs would still limit the number of events that can be held on the field to 20 or 25. Duckworth explained that in conversations with people involved with maintaining Heinz Field in Pittsburg, home of the Steelers, the grass surface has to be redone each season and can only hold a low number of events.

 "If you go that path, you will limit the number of events on the field ," Duckworth explained. "With that, McKinney Field really isn't a home-field advantage."

 Duckworth, assistant soccer coach at Grafton High School, informed the board that the team practices on a small field to preserve McKinney Field for games. He also stated that the football team, and other fall sports teams practice on the baseball field.

 "None of us get a chance to play at a full field advantage," Duckworth stated. He informed the board that the first path would cost one point three million dollars.

 The second path would include removing and replacing the surface and sub surface, and installing turf.

 This would alleviate the one year down time while waiting for the grass to take root, and would allow the field to be used 50 to 55 times a year, without significant wear and tear on the turf. The initial cost would be close to one million, with an annual maintenance cost of $5,000. Duckworth suggested a fund be started now, to build towards replacement turf 10, or 12, years down the line.

 "You are already spending 18 to 20 thousand per year to maintain the current field," Duckworth stated. "If that money is put into a fund it can go toward the replacement of the turf when needed."

 Duckworth got confirmation from the board that $350,000 has been set aside for the field.

 "We request that you go down path two with us, and set that aside for a turf field."

 A daunting task faces the Friends of McKinney Field. According to the board, due to possible penalties, the money garnered from the refinancing of the 2003-2004 bond, must be spent within two years. This means that the organization is looking at a possible deadline of July, or August, of 2014. The board also informed the organization that it could possible hold the money gathered in a tax-deductible account for the organization, and that the board's treasurer would look into the possibilities. Friends of McKinney Field has applied for a 501 (c) 3 non-profit status, but the approval has been held up, and the organization really needs to start now.

 "We need a secure bucket to hold our money," Duckworth explained. "We are looking at two years," stated Taylor County Superintendent of Schools, Bob Maynard. "We are looking for what is best for that field. We are in dire need, and we are all on the same page. The field is just worn out. To me, the only route to go is with a turf field. We are just throwing money away if it is not done right."

 "If we do not use that money within a certain amount of time, that $350,000 must be spent," stated board vice-president Richard Teagarden. "Our hands are tied."

 "If in two years, you come back with $150,000, there won't be a turf field ," Maynard stated. "We won't have the money. We can't turf that field with $350,000 right now. We are all on the same page. We are working toward the same project."

 "Our first preference is turf," stated board member Alan "Coach D" DePiano. "I can unequivocally tell you we want the turf." 

Friends of McKinney Field recognized by the Board of Education

Posted: Mountain Statesman Friday, Apr 27th, 2012
BY: Matthew Trout

PRUNTYTOWN – The first step toward turf on McKinney Field at Grafton High School has been taken. At the regular meeting of the Taylor County Board of Education, on Tuesday, April 24, nearly 40 people filled the room at the Taylor County Board of Education Building in Pruntytown.

Spearheading the campaign is Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney, John L. Bord.

“We have come to ask you to help us,” Bord stated. “And, in return, we hope to be able to help you.”

Bord went on to explain how the organization got its start.

“Friends of McKinney Field started in November of last year when McKinney Field was in poor shape,” Bord explained. “We realize that these problems are the fault of no one. The growth of sports programs, and the use of McKinney Field has gone up tremendously. A grass field is something we just cannot maintain.

“We are asking the board to recognize the group, so that we can formulate plans and raise money, subject to your approval. The fund will be regulated by the Board of Education. We are asking for this opportunity to take this project and run with it,” Bord continued.

Walesca Marrero spoke on behalf of the Grafton High School Band. Marrero informed the board that it is important for the kids to be able to use the field, and that the band would do anything to help bring this to a reality.

The next speaker was Dee Dee Mooney, who voiced her concern for the future of the field.

“I am the mother of three sons who played on McKinney Field,” Mooney explained. “Now, I am here for the next generation. I hope you will support our request to work toward turf at McKinney Field. I hope you guys will give us a chance.”

“We know the condition of the field,” Taylor County Board of Education Vice-President Dick Teagarden replied. “We realize that we have to do something. All we can do tonight is make a motion to consider you as a group. You realize that the board does not have all the money it is going to take to do this. We can recognize you, but we cannot, at this time tell you how much we can come up with to assist you.”

Teagarden informed the crowd that at the next board meeting, they should be able to give an approximation as to the amount of funds the board can put toward this effort. Teagarden informed Bord that the group’s liaison with the board will be Taylor County Superintendent of Schools, Bob Maynard.

“He will communicate with you, and we will get it all worked out,” Teagarden concluded.

The board unanimously approved the recognition of Friends of McKinney Field as an organization.

Trying to get McKinney Field out of the mud

Posted: Mountain Statesman Wednesday, Apr 4th, 2012
BY: Bobby Jennings

GRAFTON -- The Mary Battle Room at Grafton High School was the meeting place for nearly 70 Taylor County residents concerned about McKinney Field last Thursday night.

The field’s condition has been an area of great concern, especially with a number of serious injuries that occurred last season caused by the field’s deplorable condition.

Friends of McKinney Field met to ask the question, “Is there any way we can repair McKinney Field? What are our options?”

To answers those questions, meeting organizers invited Thrasher Engineering to test the field and present a report of the findings. Having done 15 other fields, using both grass and artificial turf, group organizers trusted Thrasher Engineering to give a thorough report of their findings.

Thrasher engineering representative, Jeff Roberts, was in attendance for the meeting to present their findings. Roberts explained that soil samples show that the field has between one half inch up to about three inches of grass growing soil. Beneath that soil, samples show a very hard clay base. The clay base under the soil prevents water drainage, thus causing the muddy conditions.

Roberts’ presentation had two options available. Option one was to repair the existing surface and subsurface, leaving McKinney Field with a natural grass surface. That option also included the upgrading of the Taylor County Middle School Field to reduce the amount of events held on McKinney Field.

Roberts’ noted that it was essential for the continued survival of McKinney Field, as a grass field, that the field have a limited number of events played on it.

He cited Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, as a grass field, which is re-sodded two to three times a year, to maintain it as a viable field with a maximum of 30 events played on it per year. McKinney Field currently hosts between 50 and 60 events per year.

Option one would cost $625,000 to repair McKinney Field, with a projected yearly maintenance cost of $55,000. The second half of option one, the Taylor County Middle School Field, would cost an additional $1,098,000, with an estimated $48,000 needing to be set aside yearly for maintenance. To have safe playing grass surfaces for the youth of Taylor County under option one would cost a total of $1,723,000.

Options two is the upgrading of McKinney Field to a turf field. This turf field would be an all weather surface that would allow the hosting of multiple events. As a turf field, this facility would be able to withstand the 50 to 60 events currently hosted on it, as well as, be available for activities such as the projected band spectaculars being considered by the Grafton High School Band. “This field is priced as pictured, being striped for both football and soccer,” commented Roberts.

Option two, transforming McKinney Field from natural turf to artificial, would cost $970,000, with a projected yearly maintenance cost of $5,000. This artificial surface is warranted for 10 years, and, if properly swept and groomed, it could last 15 years.

“I’ve never been a proponent for artificial turf, but I don’t see a better way for McKinney Field,” commented John Bord. He continued, “The experts are telling us this is the way to go.”

Although it appears impossible to have the field upgraded for this season, group organizers are working hard to “make something happen” for the 2013 season.

One citizen asked, “What do we do about this season?” The best possible scenario he could be offered was to patch the field up, as much as possible, keep people off of it as much as possible, and then pray for a dry fall.

“The condition of McKinney Field is deteriorating quickly,” commented Grafton High School Athletic Director Rich Bord. “Our concern isn’t’ for pretty, it is for the safety of our kids,” continued the Athletic Director.

Among the concerned citizens present for the meeting were two Taylor County Board of Education Members: Richard “Dick” Teagarden and Alan “Coach D” DePiano; Superintendent of Schools, Bob Maynard; Grafton High School Principal, Dr. Joseph Findley; and Grafton High School Head Football Coach, Mark Yoho.

“Our goal is not just to do this for the football team…It is for our high school soccer program…It is for our 400 youth soccer participants…It is for the middle school football program, and Pop Warner Footbal…It is for the band…I want to see a centralized community athletic complex right here at Grafton High School,” stated John Bord.

With the 2011 Girls’ AA State Soccer Championship Coach, youth soccer organizers, Taylor County Middle School and Pop Warner Football supporters, and band representatives all in attendance, Bord’s vision for McKinney Field is sure to have the momentum it needs to become a reality.

The group is scheduled to meet again on Monday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mary Battle Room at Grafton High School. Everyone is encouraged to attend and share his or her ideas on how to make McKinney Field a safe playing field.

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