Field Turf was a good investment | Letter
August 9, 2012 · 12:22 PM
Though I appreciate the concern about school funding of Reggie Gausman, who wrote on July 25 about the cost of the field replacement at Juanita High School, I want to provide him and other interested readers with additional information on that field and its use. Firstly, let me thank the voters who approved the school district’s Capital Projects Levy in February 2010, which provides the funding for projects such as an expanded school cafeteria and the field replacement at Juanita High School. The expanded cafeteria accommodates the addition of ninth graders to our school this fall.
This field project replaced a 10-year-old Field Turf installation, which is the normal time frame for replacement. In 2002, we replaced grass with Field Turf for safety reasons and to allow more use of the field. It is common for high schools to have this type of turf now because it causes fewer injuries to athletes because of the even and consistent nature. Grass fields are susceptible to weather-related damage from prolonged periods of rain, or icing, for example. As a result, holes or uneven areas can form.
Turf fields are designed to stand up to the weather. The turf has helped Juanita accommodate P.E. classes, track and field, high school sports, field day activities and many outside groups. Those outside groups using the field last year included Greater Seattle Soccer League, Eastlake Community Church, Underdog Sports, Premier Flag Football, Kirkland Boys and Girls Club and many others.
Our baseball and softball fields are grass and we are unable to use them during multiple periods each year because of weather-related problems.
Grass fields have their own costs to consider. They are difficult to maintain well and there are year round costs associated with their care. Moreover, maintenance would come from the general budget, the same budget that pays for teachers, books and instructional materials.
Switching back to grass would not save the entire cost of the Field Turf installation since grass maintenance would have to be taken into account. In addition, fields would be less safe and would be less available to Juanita High and to the community groups that depend on them. For these reasons, I believe this investment in the Juanita High School field is well worth the money spent.
Principal, Juanita High School