HAMPDEN, Maine — These are quiet times at most high schools in the state.
The Maine Principals’ Association mandates a two-week, hands-off period before the start of preseason practices for all fall sports in mid-August, meaning that all summer sports programs run through the schools have ended and the athletic facilities are largely empty.
That’s not the case at Hampden Academy, where workers from NET Sports Group of Saco are wrapping up an $850,000 project to replace the 14-year-old artificial turf and upgrade the lighting system on the all-purpose field behind the school.
When practices begin Monday, Aug. 13, Hampden Academy student-athletes participating in field hockey, football, and boys and girls soccer will take their turns breaking in the new surface.
“I was getting a little nervous about a week ago,” said Hampden Academy athletic administrator Fred Lower. “I had to stop going out to look because I don’t know anything about construction, and I’d say to myself, ‘Holy cow, we’re not anywhere close because we’ve got piles of gravel and dirt and bulldozers and all kinds of stuff, and the new turf hadn’t been delivered, and the light posts hadn’t been delivered, and the old turf was still rolled up and not taken away.’
“I’d talk with the Sargent Corporation guys who were doing the groundwork about how things were going and they’d say, ‘Great, we’re about four or five days away,’ and it would just shock me. But representatives from the different companies kept saying that once Sargent was done (Monday), it’s going to be fast-paced and it’s going to fly, and that’s been the case.”
Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...
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