Meriden based sports construction firm has deep Kansas roots
It’s late Thursday morning and Brian Morris is heading down the interstate. Much of his day will be spent behind the wheel before finally pulling into the driveway of his own home, which is still two states away.
As Mammoth Sports Construction’s vice president of professional and collegiate operations, Morris is on the road a lot these days building relationships with the company’s growing clientele.
The Meriden, Kan.,-based company, formerly known as Kansas Turf, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years, allowing for project opportunities extending beyond the Midwest region, and into other areas of the United States. The name change, Morris said, reflects the company’s expansion on a regional/national level.
“We will always be a Kansas-owned company, but our reputation has allowed us to grow, which really has happened over the last two years,” he said. “Much of that has really been organic, and our reputation for quality and integrity has really spread through word of mouth.”
“We really approach things a different way. Obviously, we have the expertise, but there’s other things like putting down the product you say you’re going to, that you’re not going to cut corners.”
The company is not only well-known for installing synthetic turf playing fields, but also offers additional services, including track installation, lighting, bleachers, and locker room and facility construction. Mammoth works with collegiate and professional sports organizations throughout the United States and does significant work for schools in the Big 12, SEC, the KCAC as well as other NAIA universities. Some of that work had included turf installation at Kansas State University’s Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the full conversion of Ottawa University’s baseball and softball fields to synthetic turf.
Another one of the company’s noteworthy projects this summer includes the turf replacement at Pittsburg State University’s Carnie Smith Stadium. The project, which started in June, replaced the existing surface, which was installed eight years ago and was nearing the end of its life.
“It becomes a safety issue for our student-athletes. One of the primary benefits of a synthetic surface is to help prevent concussions and other injuries at higher rates than what can occur on grass fields,” said Jim Johnson, director of Intercollegiate Athletics at PSU. “But that advantage degrades over time, so replacement is necessary to protect our student-athletes and others who use our field.”
While Mammoth works with clients at the collegiate level, the company is happy to help school officials interested in making the transition from grass fields to turf.
Some of Mammoth’s more recent projects include fully transformed turf fields in Rossville, St. Marys and Girard and new turf installation at Pittsburg High School.
“The installation of the football field turf has obviously been a great benefit for our football program,” Blaise Bauer, Girard-USD 248 superintendent, said. “But, more importantly, it has been a great benefit for our school and community. This field has helped build an even stronger sense of community pride in our schools and community as a whole.”
One of Mammoth’s noteworthy Kansas projects completed just prior to the start of the football season was an ambitious renovation of Abilene’s Cowboy Stadium. The entire project, which includes a new turf field, press box, bleachers, locker rooms and a cutting-edge video scoreboard, among other features, gives the Cowboys one of the top facilities in Kansas.
In August, the Leavenworth Board of Education selected Mammoth’s $3.19 million bid to build a baseball and softball complex for Leavenworth High School. The complex will feature individual synthetic-turf baseball and softball fields, individual natural fields, batting cages, fencing and lighting as well as a concession and bathroom facility.
Even city governments are making an investment in their communities by developing multi-field, synthetic turf complexes. With COVID-19 restricting indoor sporting events, Morris has seen a move toward outdoor activities.
“Since COVID, we’ve seen a concerted effort of moving outside,” he said. “The focus has been shifting toward getting kids outdoors, and we’re really starting to see first-class facilities all throughout the region.”
Mammoth partners with FieldTurf, which offers two- and three-layer systems for field sports like football and lacrosse, as well as specialty turf designed specifically for baseball and softball fields. High-quality fields are designed to keep players safer and reduce injuries thanks to shock absorption and level playing surfaces, officials said. Infill provides consistency throughout the field and helps turf bounce back after play.
While Mammoth is quickly becoming a leader in the field, there’s something else that sets the company apart from all the rest. It’s the little things, Morris said, like looking out for the customer.
“We have a commitment to integrity and transparency,” Morris said. “We (walk) alongside our partners to develop something that will impact the community. We do things like sponsor football camps and runs and have a relationship long after we partner with schools. We go about things differently, and I think people appreciate that our word means something; that we care about the customer.”
“...When we’re asked back, that means a lot to us. It means we’ve built that relationship, and they want us to come back.”
As Mammoth continues to expand, Morris said the company hasn’t forgotten where it came from.
“Even though our reach is growing, Kansas communities are our passion,” he said. “Even as we grow, our No.-1 focus is to continue to serve our communities. Those are the projects that impact those communities. A new field changes participation levels and gives a community pride. Our No.-1 focus is impacting lives.
“I’ve seen communities where kids were losing interest in the local football program, but once the community made an investment, participation increased 50-75 percent. Now, you have elementary and junior-high kids, maybe for the first time, envisioning themselves running on the field under those Friday night lights. That’s one of the coolest aspects in my opinion.”
And while synthetic-turf football fields are mostly used for what they were intended, their usefulness doesn’t end there, he said.
“It’s not just sports,” Morris said. “It’s band. It’s cheer. It’s PE classes. The turf field becomes the largest classroom in the district. It can be used by the community. It’s made to be used, and used a lot. I don’t think a lot of people realize that until it’s in place, and there’s so many ways it can be used by the community.”
Some of the information in this story was provided by Pittsburg State University, the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle, the Leavenworth Times and Mammoth Sports Construction.