ST. BERNARD, Ohio -- Brandon Spaeth walked over to Bron Bacevich Stadium Thursday morning and reflected upon what has occurred this past week.
Spaeth, the Roger Bacon assistant athletic director and 2011 graduate, said the school has been overwhelmed with support since the stadium experienced a significant sewer backup after flooding in the St. Bernard area Aug. 28.
Nearly four weeks later, athletic department officials said the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams along with the football team could be ready to return to the field the first week of October -- weeks ahead of schedule.
The Motz Group has installed new Twenty-Four/Seven synthetic turf, which is best suited for multi-use fields.
"I am really glad the seniors will get to play on the new turf," Roger Bacon football coach Mike Blaut said. "They have been the ones who have lost the most not having a home field for a few games."
The St. Bernard-Elmwood Place football team also plays at the stadium located at 35 E. Mitchell Ave.
The stadium, built in 1954, is named after the late Roger Bacon football coach. It has hosted several standout players over the years including Pro Football Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, a 1960 Purcell graduate.
When the flooding occurred that final Sunday in August, school officials were worried the teams would be without a home for the remainder of the season.
But, the Motz Group assessed the damage and got to work quickly. They put an initial timeline of mid-October.
The school set an aggressive goal to have the last scheduled home football game, Senior Night, on Oct. 21. It also rescheduled the annual homecoming festivities and parade for that night.
But events sped up quickly. No damage was found underneath the turf, which was installed in 2008. The Motz Group has committed extra resources to the project and the weather has cooperated.
Chris Larbes, Motz Group Field Consultant, said the company has 50 percent additional staffing on Bron Bacevich Stadium in order to help expedite the process. Larbes said it's rewarding to have such an impact on a community for its athletic programs.
The Motz Group added the lines and markings before it finished the end zone Wednesday night.
“They’re just doing an incredible job,” Roger Bacon Athletic Director Steve Rossi said. “It’s been so awesome.”
Rossi and the athletic department have kept the public aware of the stadium’s progress through social media. Roger Bacon tweeted several photos this past week.
“Motz is kicking butt,” Spaeth said. “They have been terrific partners to work with.”
A group of volunteers will be at the stadium Friday afternoon to refurbish the concession areas, which need a good dose of work.
The school has invited volunteers to help power wash, trim weeds and paint the concession areas. Fortunately, the sewage did not affect the locker room or bathrooms, Rossi said.
Rossi said the refrigerator and freezer along with the hot dog and popcorn machines have to be replaced because of sanitary concerns.
The Roger Bacon football teamplays at McNicholas at 1 p.m. Saturday so school officials said Friday afternoon is the perfect time to tidy the spots that need attention.
The Spartans play Badin Sept. 23 and that game is still scheduled for University of Cincinnati’s Sheakley Athletics Center.
Roger Bacon plays Alter (at Fairmont) Sept. 30 before hopefully can return home Oct. 7 against Chaminade Julienne. If the Oct. 7 game can’t be played at home, then it will be played at St. Xavier, which hosted the Week 3 matchup against Indian Hill.
“They are good people over there,” St. X Athletic Director John Sullivan said of the Roger Bacon staff.
Soccer will likely be the first sport to return to Bron Bacevich Stadium in early October.
The undefeated boys’ team (6-0) plays host to Talawanda Oct. 1 in a game scheduled for St. Ursula and has a home game against Finneytown Oct. 6. The Roger Bacon girls’ team plays host to Taylor Oct. 1.
The boys’ team recently played at Mount Notre Dame. The Roger Bacon girls’ soccer team has practiced at St. Rita School for the Deaf.
The community support continued through its pocketbook, too.
Spaeth held a spirit shop sale last weekend when the school sold $3,000 worth of merchandise. The school has also raised $10,000 in a campaign called #RBrising, which invites alumni to make a financial donation. It all started with a $100 check.
The school said a new turf field will cost upwards of $400,000 and it is working with the Motz Group on that expense as it explores options with insurance and the Metropolitan Sewer District.
“We continue to appreciate everybody’s support,” Spaeth said. “The Motz Group knows how important it is to get these last games in at home.”