Dink Adams Field at Halls High School is getting a huge facelift this summer, with donors big and small coming together to make something special.
According to Halls High athletic director Meagan Miller, the new artificial turf on the Halls football field is part of a five-year rollout of turf at every Knox County high school. The upgrade at Halls comes in the second year of the rollout. Funds for the countywide project come from Field of Dreams LLC, founded by Mark Packer of Channel 8, which received the $10.1 million gift from Pilot, Pilot Flying J and the Haslam Foundation.
The turf is being installed this summer by Baseline Sports, along with other upgrades to the stadium. Along with the Knox County Schools facilities team, Baseline addressed a runoff problem under the bleachers. Baseline is also installing new areas for high jump, long jump and pole vault, along with new fencing, new goal posts and a new track around the field.
Miller said head football coach J.D. Overton designed the field markings, complete with checkerboard end zones and the big H at centerfield.
“(Baseline Sports) has just been phenomenal,” said Miller. “They have been out there working seven days a week.”
To prep for the turf, Baseline added three or four inches of clay to the field, which was below the level of the track. The clay came from Gibbs High School, which is also receiving a turf field this year. The Gibbs field had the opposite problem: it was too high.
Under the turf is gravel, and soon chopped rubber will be applied to the turf to give it a springy, cushioned feel. An irrigation system installed under the turf will keep the field cool, making summer practices easier. The track is paved with asphalt now and will receive a rubber top and paint sometime in late September.
The Red Devils football team has been practicing on the Halls Middle School field while construction is underway.
Another group of donors has tackled the press box at Dink Adams Field. Gordy Noe of Pioneer Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. financed and organized the project to gut the press box and replace wiring, carpet, cabinetry, lighting and more. Football parent Randy Harbin installed new ceiling tiles. Halls electrical teacher Tony Tampas and construction teacher Jeff McMurray donated their time. Carl Tindell and Johann Van Tilburg of Tindell’s Inc. provided new windows. Overton will install new carpet as well.
“It has certainly been a group effort,” said Miller. “We’re tickled to death. I think our community’s going to be really excited about it.”
Miller thanked everyone who has helped with these projects this summer and added that the community can expect to see some changes in allowable use at the field to protect the turf. The football field will be closed to community use after dark, and while folks can still walk the track, they will need to park at the front of the school, as vehicle access will be blocked off after hours to prevent vandalism.
“That’s every school’s concern,” said Miller. “How do we allow community use while taking care of the gift we’ve been given?”
Those used to leaning on the fence to watch football games will also see a change this year, as there will be no fence between the field and the track to lean against.