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Artificial turf eyed for Boonsboro High's Warrior Field

July 30, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Boonsboro High School's Head Football Coach Clayton Anders poses on Warrior Field. The possibility of installing artificial turf on the field is being discussed.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO — A group working with the Boonsboro Athletic Boosters is looking into the possibility of installing artificial turf at Boonsboro High School’s football field, Washington County Public Schools officials said.

Boonsboro High and school system officials, as well as some community members, were expected to meet Wednesday to begin discussing whether the project would be feasible and if the school system would support it, officials said.

In researching different artificial turf companies, Boonsboro High Head Football Coach Clayton Anders said he received an estimate for the entire project — grading, drainage and artificial turf — from FieldTurf that was a little more than $800,000.

Anders said community members have encouraged him to look into artificial turf, and some alumni might be interested in helping to fund the project.

Anders said he has one financial commitment for artificial turf, but the potential donor is anonymous for now, and he would not say how much the donor was willing to contribute.

If the project proceeds, a fundraising campaign would be needed, Anders said.

Other possible funding sources could be the school system, grants and naming rights, officials said.

Deputy Schools Superintendent Boyd Michael said the school system does not have the project budgeted.

If the project is viable, the school system would determine how much funding it might be able to provide for the project, as well as other funding sources, Michael said.

A turf study committee will operate under the umbrella of the booster club, which already has a public-private partnership with the school system, Anders said.

Anders said he loves grass fields, but schools cannot afford to hire a full-time turf staff to manage grass that can be played on daily during some weeks.

Playing games in bad weather can ruin a field, which still has to be used throughout the season for other games, he said.

At least seven football and soccer teams use the field in the fall, and four lacrosse teams use it in the spring, Anders said.

New turf was installed on Warrior Field before the 2011-12 school year, but there are already bald spots near the 5- to 10-yard lines and in the middle of the field, Anders said. Those are the areas where the shorter lacrosse field has goals and players have face-offs, respectively, he said.

FieldTurf has a high-quality product and the financial wherewithal to back up its warranty should something go wrong with the turf, Anders said.

It was installed at Shepherd University’s Ram Stadium in nearby West Virginia in 2008, according to The Herald-Mail’s archives.

North Hagerstown High School is the only public school with an artificial turf, school system officials said. That school’s Sprinturf was installed in 2006 for the new Mike Callas Stadium, the archives said.

Before North High’s turf was installed, a project official said the estimated cost of installing artificial turf was about $460,000, compared with about $235,000 for a sod field.

The cost of maintaining a grass field versus an artificial field was not immediately available.

Warren Barrett, North High’s business manager, said the school’s artificial turf is in “great shape.”

In addition to annually replacing tiny, black rubber pebbles among the synthetic fibers in some parts of the field, the field is agitated routinely to loosen the pebbles and maintain the sponginess of the field, he said.

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