March 15, 2024 at 10:28 p.m.

Taking form

Progress has been quick on construction of "cleathouse"


By ANDREW BALKO
None

When one imagines winter, they often think bitter cold and a white blanket of snow.

The Patriots Athletics department couldn't have been more grateful to have warm weather and minimal snow this year.

Warmer weather during the winter months allowed for almost continuous work on the Jay County High School Athletic Department’s cleathouse project. The consistent work has gotten the shell of the building built and allowed for work to begin on the field.

“I’m overjoyed because they had great weather and were able to steal time over the course of the winter,” said JCHS Athletics Director Steve Boozier. “We should get the turf company in with plenty of time. Unless if we have some kind of monsoon-like summer, there shouldn’t be any delays in fall activities on that field.

“We’re excited to get everything done and dress up the facility with that new concession stand.”

After Jay County School Board approved a $6.1 million capital improvement project in late January, Mid-States Concrete and General Construction Co. (MSC) of Jay County got to work on the cleathouse in October.

The building will sit beyond the northeast end zone of the field and will have a concession stand, home and away locker rooms, public restrooms and two family restrooms. The family restrooms will be open for other outdoor spring and fall sports, while the full restrooms can potentially be opened if busy enough or necessary.

“I think it’s a good spot for it,” said MSC owner Brooks Fugiett. “It’s centrally located with all the outdoor arenas.”

On Thursday morning, laborers from MSC worked on laying bricks along the bottom third of the outside of the building, while they worked on electrical and plumbing on the inside. Due to all of the interior walls being masonry walls, the plumbing and electrical work needs to go in  at the same time as the concrete blocks according to Fugiett.

“Everything’s been really smooth,” Fugiett said. “It’s been a good project … and we’re shooting to be done with the building sometime in July.”

Once the building is done, a driveway will be paved to run alongside the back of the facility. The driveway will connect to the road near the tennis courts, where the entrances to the gravel lot previously were.

The space in between the driveway and the road will turn into a retention pond. There will be another retention pond just beyond the southeast corner of the field.

Work on the field has also begun, with MSC digging out a ring up against a track. On Thursday, mats were laid out on the field, so they could bring dump trucks out onto the field without being affected by rain.

This week, MSC will begin digging out eight to 14 inches of dirt depending on the crown of the field.

 Once that is done, Sprinturf will come in to lime stabilize the grade and then install the new turf. Sprinturf is expected to get started sometime in June.

“The building is right on time,” Fugiett said. “The field is probably a little ahead now, but all of that is weather dependent.”

MSC only missed about two weeks worth of time to work on the building when weather dipped too low to continue working. The rest of the winter has allowed it to 

Once the turf is installed and the building is functional, Jay County will turn the former soccer field into an auxiliary field with the old football goal posts.

The project is the first on the docket for the athletic department, with the installation of lights for the baseball and softball fields to follow. That project is expected to be completed for the 2025 season, before JCHS starts looking at replacing the stadium seating.

“When Jay County High School opened, we had some of the best athletic facilities in the area,” Boozier. “We were keeping our facilities functional, but we weren’t keeping up with other schools.

“Our football field was the worst in east central Indiana. The turf brings us on par with other schools, the concession area dressing this up and the locker rooms will be modernized.

“We’ll be back where we were as far as facilities.”

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