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New turf renovation promises safer experience for athletes

Jason Harward editor-in-chief

The installation of a new synthetic turf, which began Aug. 1, is expected to finish and be ready for play on Monday, Oct. 9. While the old turf had outlived its life by 5 years and was quickly deteriorating past safe play, the fall schedule of renovation was not the most ideal for some athletes.

Superintendent Michael Bregy, who says the turf needing replacement was “one of the first things” he noticed in his initial tour around campus in February, was very complimentary of how teams worked around the 9-week project.

“There’s no good time to [replace the turf]. It’s always used, but I feel like getting it done at the beginning of the year is what’s best. Everybody was super cooperative, soccer, lacrosse, football, everyone that’s using it has just found other places to practice,” Bregy said. “It’s starting to look really sharp, and should be done by the end of September…it’s some of the highest quality turf out there.”

Senior Camilla Wolff, the co-captain of the girls varsity soccer team, is “excited” to play on the new turf for her season, but also thinks that the summer was the best time to do such a renovation.

“I think it would’ve been best to redo the field over the summer because then at the beginning of the year all sports could continue to use the field routinely,” Wolff said.

Project Manager Michael Dobrotin attributed the inability to replace the turf during the summer to the popularity of early summer turf replacement, and the late start that the district had on approving a company to replace the turf.

“Summer is [the turf contractors and suppliers’] busiest time, and we didn’t go out to bid until basically sometime in April this year,” Dobrotin said. “At that point, most of the resources, both with the contractors that do the installation work and the mills that manufacture the turf, were already booked for most of the summer.”

When the district did approve a contractor, they went with the most recognized name in turf. The contract to install the turf was awarded to AFE Sports, the California synthetic turf contractor for AstroTurf, for a grand total of $962,083. Although a rival bid from SprintTurf would have cost about $250,000 less, it failed to meet many of the safety and performance standards set by the district, and was thrown out as a “non-responsive bid.”

The turf itself will be a safer alternative to the old surface, which was five years past its eight-year recommended life. In addition to a thicker foam padding underneath and safer, higher performing materials, the turf will have permanent lines, which will require less maintenance than before.

“It’ll be an all-purpose field. No more paint,” Assistant Superintendent for Construction and Facilities Dave Jackson said. “There will be inlaid lines for football, soccer, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, and baseball; it’s going to be a colorful field.”

Overall, the new field field is an exciting development for the athletes who use it every day.

“I just hope it’s everything it’s supposed to be,” senior Eric Cherdak, the starting varsity football center, said.



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