While Oxon Hill High School is hoping to debut its new 5,000-seat stadium with artifical turf at the Sept. 6 season football opener, Gwynn Park and Henry A. Wise will have to wait.
“Technically, it’s still a construction site because they’re still working on the track,” Oxon Hill football coach Craig Jeffries said. “But the turf is down, the bleachers are up and we have a lot of parking spaces. They’re just doing some last-minute work on the track, but I expect to be able to play my home opener here. I think the guys are looking forward to getting out there on the field.”
Oxon Hill is scheduled to host five games on its new turf field this fall. Original plans called for Gwynn Park and Wise to also get turf fields this year as the state and county move toward installing turf fields at all Prince George’s public high schools.
Gwynn Park is not expected to play any home games at the school this fall because the transition is set to begin in a couple of weeks. Wise’s field turf transformation is likely to begin in December, after the fall season.
“We’re going to have a new turf field and we’re going to have lights,” said Gwynn Park Athletic Director Linda Henson-Hubb, adding that the Yellow Jackets should play home games at this season at Friendly and Largo, two fields that have lights. “But they’re not going to get started on our field until sometime in mid-August. They’ve already dug the holes for the light posts, now we’re just waiting on the field. We’re not going to get new bleachers, though.”
Earlier this year, Doug Peters, a state senator, and Jay Walker, a state delegate, co-sponsored a bill that would provide field turf for all of the county’s public high schools.
“In Anne Arundel County, every single high school field is turf,” Peters said. “All of the schools in Washington, D.C. have turf and Montgomery County is adding some each year. I think we need to get this done in Prince George’s County.”
Wise Athletic Director Jason Gordon was uncertain about the exact timetable for the grass to be replaced at the Upper Marlboro school, but admitted it would not take place before the 2014 season.
“The last I heard was that they would not be starting on our field until late November or early December,” Gordon said. “... Hopefully, they’ll get started on the field right after the season ends and then finish it by the spring so we can use it next season.”