LEETONIA, Ohio (WKBN) – Leetonia has a rich football history with three state championships, but for the first time, the Bears’ home field will not be natural grass. It’s just taking longer than expected for the sod squad installing the fake grass to put it down.
Leetonia has dug up its grass football field.
Workers will finish laying the base for a new synthetic turf field this weekend. It’s just waiting for the turf and the people who will install it.
“But it’s like everything else in the country we know right now, worker shortages become a little bit of an issue,” said Dennis Dunham, Leetonia superintendent. “We’re about five days later than where we wanted to be with this project.”
The turf is coming though within a couple weeks. Then, it will take at least two weeks to install.
The entire town is excited. The football team, too. And the band is ready to make some noise over it.
“We’re going to have better use of practice time. We’re going to have a better field. We won’t have to worry about water, the elements keeping us from marching at halftime show,” said Randy Rodik, Leetonia band director.
At Leetonia, the gates will stay locked for the first home game and the team will use Salem’s stadium instead.
The Bear will keep watch, expecting the community for game number two, hoping the wait won’t be unbearable.
“You get that excitement. You’re going to be on the turf the very first day, first game and now you’re not there,” Rodik said. “You know what, that first game is going to be special, no matter when we play it.”
Leetonia is on the road for week two, so the first football game in the stadium will likely be September 10.
The switch to turf is easier maintenance and allows more programs to use the stadium. It may be an unbearable wait, but the key word right now is patience.
“They are disappointed. There’s no way to hide that, but I think they’ll be equally as happy and pleased once they do get on it,” Dunham said.
And they’re really excited October 8 for the Spaghetti Bowl on turf.
Leetonia has pushed back a Meet the Team night and some other opening ceremonies to celebrate the new field for a game when the project is complete.