Athletic Boosters to install artificial turf in HS football field

TurfAt last week’s board meeting, the Athletic Boosters announced, in what they called “The worst-kept secret in Milford’s history,” that they have raised private funds in the amount of $650,000 and will be replacing the district’s grass turf football field with artificial turf.  The field (picture (courtesy of Athletic Boosters) to the right – click to enlarge) will be ready by late August, in time for next school year’s football season.

The Boosters raised the funds from corporations and individuals, and are rounding out the amount they need with a loan from National Bank & Trust.   Maumee Bay Turf Center from Oregon, OH will do the installation.  The quality of turf is the same as that on many college and professional fields, and will be lined for football, soccer and lacrosse.

The installation of this artificial turf is 100% privately funded, and it will not cost taxpayers a penny.

Director of Extracurriculars Mark Trout thanked the Boosters and those community members/businesses who are supporting the project and many other groups/projects in Milford.  This is a wonderful example of what a community can accomplish by working together.  While the school district cannot, in this day of shrinking budgets, afford to install a field like this, the Boosters were able to identify partners to help make it possible.

Once the field is installed, it will be the district’s responsibility to manage and maintain it.  High school turf fields are very popular options for community athletic groups looking for quality surfaces for practices and games.  Treasurer Debbie Caudle, Operations Director Jeff Johnson, and Mark Trout have worked on the financials of field rental, maintenance costs [both for the current grass field and the artificial turf field], and replacement costs.  They have developed a strong, well-developed plan that allows the district to generate a revenue stream from renting the field during non-district usage times.

By “banking” the maintenance savings and earnings from field rental in a special “turf replacement account,” the district will be able to cover the costs to replace the field.  The turf is guaranteed for 8 years, but districts generally get 10 or even 12 years’ use out of their fields, even without the upgraded turf we will have.  In the case of shortfalls, the district is talking with the Athletic Boosters about a support plan to ensure the field does not cost the district any more out of pocket than the current field.

From the time this project was first presented to the board three years ago, both Gary Knepp (who was on the school board at the time) and I asked many, many questions about the financials and projections.   We felt the district needed numbers showing the replacement would not end up costing taxpayers extra, plus a management plan that looked at needs and who would be responsible for meeting them.

In fact, early last year, the board voted on a resolution to support the fundraising the Athletic Boosters were doing for the turf.  I voted “no” because I did not feel enough due diligence had been done to move the project forward (Gary Knepp was no longer on the board at the time of the resolution).

Since that time, district personnel have done a great job pulling together all the information and pieces needed to ensure we are going into this project with Is dotted and Ts crossed.  I believe, with the additional work being done on planning scheduling, the district has done sufficient work to justify the installation, and I am thrilled to say I support the project.

One Response to “Athletic Boosters to install artificial turf in HS football field”

  1. Highlights of 8/15/13 school board meeting | Andrea Brady's Blog Says:

    […] The turf is almost ready to go!  While it may seem to the naked eye that progress has been slow, the turf installation company has actually been working steadily.  The process was delayed a bit due to the extremely wet weather, but the turf should be ready for the first game on Saturday, August 31!  The first varsity game and “ribbon cutting” will be held on Friday, September 6.  Thank you again to the Athletic Boosters for all their hard work in making this happen at no installation cost to the district!  For more information on the turf and the Athletic Boosters’ generous support, click here. […]

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