AHS looks into replacing football field

    Ashland High alum and Kansas City Royals pitcher Guthrie offers to help fund to project
  • Goodbye grass stains and mud-caked cleats, hello traction and turf.
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  • Goodbye grass stains and mud-caked cleats, hello traction and rug burns. And not only for football players — for everybody.
    That's the hope of Ashland High School coaches and administrators who in the wake of a surprise offer by AHS alum Jeremy Guthrie are looking into the possibility of replacing one of the oldest playing surfaces in the state with state-of-the-art synthetic grass.
    Ashland School District director of business services Greg Lecuyer has been busy researching similar projects in an effort to formulate a cost estimate and will present his findings to the school board during its next meeting Dec. 12.
    If the project wins approval from the school board the next step will be finding out how much Guthrie, a starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, is willing to contribute.
    "This is a great opportunity and a tribute to the Ashland School District that one of our alumni wants to give back," Ashland athletic director Karl Kemper said. "He obviously has fond memories of his time in Ashland. He was a valedictorian, a three-sport athlete and a stellar citizen and he has an opportunity to give back and he's very selflessly offering to do that — it's a beautiful thing."
    Guthrie, 34, who graduated from Ashland High in 1997, got the ball rolling in August by texting former Ashland High football coach Jim Nagel, who coached Guthrie. The proposal was first brought up to the school board during its October meeting, which preceded a work session that included Kemper, Nagel, Ashland football coach Charlie Hall, boys soccer coach Brad Roupp, superintendent Jay Hummel, principal Michelle Zundel and trainer Max Munson.
    According to a press release by Ashland Public Schools, the new field will cost at least $500,000. The school is also looking into the possibility of piggybacking several other projects, including a new set of stadium lights that would limit glare for neighboring homes.
    "We're doing some cost estimates to get an idea of the possible scope of the project," Lecuyer said. "We're in the very early stages."
    If completed, a synthetic field will get plenty of use at Ashland High. Currently, says Kemper, coaches must be selective about who uses the field and when in order to keep it in good shape for the prep football season.
    "We do 10 or 12 events a year there, which is basically varsity, JV and freshmen football, and we really limit use outside of that because the field can't take a lot of wear and tear," Kemper said.
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