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Ideally, bulldozers and other earth-moving equipment would have swarmed Scrappy Moore Field several weeks ago. Instead, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team's practice field looks the same as it did following its final spring practice there on April 16.

In working on public facilities - even when the work is being done with private money - a lot of hurdles have to be cleared before even an ounce of dirt is moved.

"It's a lot more complicated than you'd think it would be," Mocs coach Russ Huesman said.

In UTC's case, athletic director Rick Hart said, the planned renovations to Scrappy - being paid for out of the $500,000 donation to the program by Renee Haugerud and John Murphy - are on hold until the renovation plans are approved by the State Building Commission. The commission meets on the second Thursday of every month, so the earliest the plans could be approved is May 14.

Among the proposed improvements is the installation of an artificial turf field for part of the facility. That would allow the Mocs to practice at Scrappy even on rainy days, which in the past have forced the players to drive, in their own cars, to Finley Stadium with its Field Turf surface.

"We want to make the space more usable, not only on a day-to-day basis, but also different types of climates and weather," Hart said. "As for the exact specifications of what we're going to do, we're still waiting for feedback."

The small section of turf at Scrappy now is unusable and for at least the past few years has served no purpose other than as a place to store blocking sleds and other equipment.

Should the plans be approved at the meeting, Hart said UTC must then go through a mandatory three-week bidding process for the job, which means the work might not begin before the second week of June.

Huesman speculated that it would take six to eight weeks, if all goes well, which would put the completion date right around the start of preseason practice. Even if the field isn't available for the Mocs' many summer camps, the first of which is a one-day camp for rising high school seniors on June 6, the most important thing is to have it ready for the preseason, Huesman said.

Hart said he didn't want to project a number for the cost of the project because the bidding process hasn't begun. At least part of the $500,000, however, is slated to go toward hiring a new academic support staff member.

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