As almost everyone admits at North Gwinnett High School these days, the ongoing construction affects everyone.
While the classroom experience has been impacted with hallway detours, the largest effect on the athletics department has been a reduction in practice field space.
It's difficult to pinpoint how much of a dent the rearranged trailers have made on the area, but football coach Bob Sphire said the already small practice footprint just got a little smaller.
And while it hasn't forced dueling sports to compete for the land, at least in the fall, the long-term effects are easy to see. Football is the only sport that uses the area in the fall, but spring soccer season means the grass gets little time to recover at all.
"We can't whine about it, and make excuses about it, we've got to find a way to overcome it," Sphire said. "We make the best adjustments we can make."
Sphire applauded how Principal Ed Shaddix (a former football coach) and Gwinnett County Public Schools facilities and maintenance representatives managed the land-locked school's situation.
But the coach wondered if it may eventually -- say by playoff time -- have a competitive impact on the Bulldogs.
The grass may turn into a hardpan surface, or a mud pit, depending on the weather.
"You can only go in the gym so many times and get your football team ready," Sphire said. "Camden County and Lowndes and those guys are going out on turf everyday with space. They don't have to make any of those adjustments. If you're not careful, pretty soon, that catches up to you. We're not coaching an indoor football team. But at the same time we've to protect what little surface we have."
At Sphire's former school in Kentucky, the surface was FieldTurf, an artificial grass and synthetic turf combination.
About seven years ago, I wrote a story for a newspaper in Kentucky when a substance called "crumb rubber" became popular at several schools around the state where practice fields were worn down.
Crumb rubber is a fine gravel-like substance made out of recycled tires. That year, Kentucky's environmental cabinet gave 21 grants to help pay for the use of crumb rubber.
Before crumb rubber is applied, fields are aerated to allow the rubber to settle into the ground. The rubber layer protects the root stem and aids in water absorption.
Putting crumb rubber on fields turned out to be a win for everyone. The state wanted a solution for illegal tire dumps, and environmentalists were concerned about piles of disposed tires. Another problem was old tires held water that was a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Waste management officials also wanted to rid the perception that tire swings are the only way to recycle old tires.
When two schools applied the crumb rubber to two and three fields, the average cost was $76,000. One school paid $22,000 of that from its booster club, and then added it to classroom curriculum about recycled material.
North's touchdown club's field committee has already supplemented what the GCPS does for field maintenance with things like sand, seed and aeration.
So while the limited land situation at North won't change anytime soon, administrators should research crumb rubber to help the Bulldogs' fields.
Keith Farner covers Suwanee for the Daily Post. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.