Union County High School saves big on football field fixes

(WBIR - MAYNARDVILLE) - With high school football just weeks away, one East Tennessee high school is preparing its once troubled field for game day.

A new construction plan for Union County High School could save county taxpayers more than $35,000.

Union County's new high school football coach Tommy Rewis found out that last year's "Senior Night" had to be held at an opposing school's field because of a flooding issue.

He said he pushed for a plan to fix the home field so that never happens again.

"The first thing I felt was just sadness for the kids. Nobody should have to go through that. Not the seniors in high school," said Rewis.

The school and county officials reached out to experts with the University of Tennessee to come and inspect the field. They came up with a plan that included bringing in more soil and raising the level of the center of the field. It's expected to create better drainage, but the costs were more than the budget could afford.

"What we were going to have to do was going to cost $45,000 to $50,000 to bring dirt in, remove top soil and get it to where it needed to be so we had the proper drainage on the field," said Union County High School Director of Health and Human Services Eddie Graham.

School officials approached Union County Road Superintendent David Cox for help. He was able to take a look at the plan and the field and come up with a solution that would only cost around $10,000.

It wasn't simple, but it was fixable, Cox said.

His plan cut out the middle man, and they used resources they had available at the field. They took some of the dirt and top soil from the sides of the field and moved it to the center.

"Originally they were going to haul 40 loads of dirt in to make 6 more inches. So we got the top soil cut off and I asked him why can we not just cut the edges down 3 inches and take it to the center. So they agreed to that and that's what we're doing," said Cox.

The Patriots' home opener is set for September.

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