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The James Clemens baseball program will have a brand new field to play on in 2021 with an artificial turf infield and bullpen areas. The overall athletic renovations included some artificial turf areas for the girls’ softball field. Photo Contributed

State-Of-The-Art Facilities Part Of James Clemens Athletics

MADISON- The project improving the athletic facilities at James Clemens High School has been ongoing since the school opened in 2012 becoming Madison City Schools’ second upper division school. The long awaited success of the efforts are nearly completed as the football field and track were upgraded to artificial turf a year ago and now the man-made turf has also been installed on both the baseball and softball fields.

“The newly installed artificial turf on our field will help in keeping games on schedule due to rain that usually wreaks havoc during our seasons,” said Johnny Johnson head baseball coach at James Clemens.

The total cost of renovations on both fields is nearly $400-thousand. Madison City Schools provided an estimated $27-thousand to the project while the two sports programs provided a $50-thousand down payment then took out a loan from Madison City Schools for the remainder of the funds. The project monies will be paid through tournaments held at the JetsPlex, as well as, league play and practice rentals.

“Baseball already has nine tournaments on the calendar for the upcoming summer, as well as, hosting local American Legion teams,” said Johnson.

Warner’s Athletic Construction, based in Smyrna, Tenn., was hired to handle the total installation. Warner’s is one of the most respected construction firms in the United States.

Installed was Shaw B1K Turf, which is similar to the turf already installed on the football/soccer field. The artificial surface is manufactured using a combination of sand, rubber and safe shell. The turf is regarded as the closest to natural grass. The baseball field has artificial turf on the grass portion of the infield and foul ball areas and in both home and visitor bullpens. Natural grass remains in the outfield with new infield soil professionally mixed to handle excessive play and moisture during times of rain. New dugout rails and padding were also installed.

The softball complex will feature artificial turf in foul ball areas dugout to dugout and in both bullpen areas. The softball field will remain all natural grass, but new soil for the home plate area was brought in from the baseball field. A good portion of money appropriated to softball was utilized on the team’s practice field renovations.

Warning tracks on both fields were also expertly reworked.

The practice fields for both teams also received recent renovations, but remain all natural turf.

“The business plan for the project is the construction costs will be paid back over the years and also allow us to eliminate our efforts of chasing money donations on a continuous basis,” added Johnson.

The renovations match the programs at Bob Jones High as both fields hosting the Patriots at the crosstown high school already have artificial turf installed two years ago.

It’s now easy to compare both schools, at least from the standpoint of playing on equal playing fields.

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