WEST PORTSMOUTH — A series of athletic facilities upgrades approved by the Washington-Nile Local School District will see another project completed shortly after the start of the 2021-22 school year.
After an indoor hitting facility and weightroom was completed in early 2020 to benefit Portsmouth West baseball and softball teams, as well as other Senator athletic programs, the PWHS Athletic Department has overseen the renovation of its football field during the summer months.
This renovation primarily includes a new turf playing surface, a contrast from the natural grass surface that comprised the field in previous seasons.
“Our Board saw that it was probably time to do something. Now all of our sports teams can use this, and our band, gym classes — it will be used all the time,” West AD and football coach Todd Gilliland said, of the upgrade. “Really exciting to have that opportunity because it’s going to make for better play for all of our sports teams.”
The turf playing surface will allow for the West boys and girls soccer teams to compete on the field that was used for football only prior to this school year.
It will also prevent any weather-related field issues during practices, which Gilliland says has been an issue in past football seasons during his four years as an assistant coach.
“We won’t have to worry about if we’re tearing up the field after weather. We’ll be able to play JV games, junior high games, anything and it will stay in great shape.” Gilliland said. “We want to give our kids the opportunity to play on or in the best facilities that we can.”
Gilliland says the support from West alumni, staff and community members has been expressed to him regarding the soon-to-be finished upgrades.
“Everybody’s excited, just waiting for everything to be finished. Everyone I’ve talked to is supportive and are ready to see the finished product,” he said.
West football opens its 2021 schedule with home games at ‘The Rock’ against Fairland and Portsmouth on Aug. 20 and Aug. 27, respectively.
If the turf surface isn’t ready for the week-one home opener versus Fairland, Gilliland says his Senators have a backup plan to play the Dragons at Trojan Coliseum in Portsmouth on Saturday, Aug. 21.
“We still have our fingers crossed for week one. But the goal right now is having it ready for week two. You never know, and we have a plan in place to play our first game at Portsmouth if this isn’t quite ready,” Gilliland said.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved