JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER
LLANO — Construction workers continue to smooth out gravel and other parts of Llano Stadium to prepare the surface for synthetic turf.
The current state of the stadium left athletic director and head football coach Craig Slaughter with hope that the turf will be laid down and ready to use for the Aug. 20 home scrimmage against Sonora. Workers have said they believe the turf will be on the ground by that date.
“It’s definitely getting to the end of the game,” Slaughter said. “It’s definitely a little nerve wrecking.”
The first home game of the regular season is Sept. 4 against Bangs.
Currently, the playing area has two layers of rock. A drainage system, shock mat and then the synthetic turf are needed to complete the project.
“The turf has been showing up,” the coach said. “It’s definitely getting close.”
He plans to ask workers for an update by the end of the first week of training camp, which starts Aug. 3.
Slaughter said officials had a choice to make regarding the installation of the new eight-lane track after the turf is completed, which is supposed to take no more than 13 days. Workers could either finish the project during the month of August or come back after the football season to install the track. Llano Independent School District officials chose to have the entire project completed in August.
That could affect the scrimmage. Slaughter said there are a couple of options, including using the high school practice fields. But no matter what, his plan is to host Sonora in the city of Llano.
While varsity football is a high priority for him as the head coach, Slaughter said his other athletes – such as cross country runners and Llano Junior High football players – also dominate his thoughts. As the athletic director he must consider their well-being and preparation, too. Those athletes use the stadium for their training, he said.
“I need it to be done,” he said. “As the athletic director, you have to think about all of (the athletes).”
Slaughter said he was “98 percent sure” workers would cite heavy rains during May as the reason for the current state of the stadium.
“It cost them a couple of weeks there,” he said.