The debate over turf and grass

Posted: December 22, 2017

Minnehaha decides on grass for North campus but considers turf for South

Many schools have switched to artificial turf, will we be seeing it soon, too?

What if you never had to worry about the condition of the field before you played on it, or if you never had to worry about playing too much and wearing the grass down, or never having to worry about cutting the grass? These problems are all mostly solved by the switch to an artificial turf field. Of course, it isn’t that simple, or else we’d have it by now.

Here at Minnehaha Academy, the grass has suited as the home field for many sports for decades, with much help from the hard-working maintenance crew. But lately, the idea of replacing the south campus football field with artificial turf has been seriously considered. “It’s kind of something that says your school is serious about athletics,” said Athletic Director Josh Thurow. Many other IMAC schools have installed artificial turf, like Providence Academy and The Blake School.

The Blake School, in Minneapolis, provided the home field for the Wolfpack, which was artificial turf. Blake uses the brand SprintTurf, and they have been very satisfied with it. According to their Athletic Director, Nick Rathmann, the biggest difference after they switched to artificial turf was how often they used the field. “We are more efficient. Rain, snow or sun. We are out on the field.” They also have a rental group that uses it in the evening after their sports teams practice. “It stays in great condition no matter the weather elements. In the past [on grass], one bad rain during a game would ruin the field for the whole season.” The price for their field and the base was around $1,000,000, but they use a grooming machine after each 60 hours of play.

Providence Academy, in Plymouth, also has an artificial turf field as well as a winter dome. They use the brand FieldTurf, and their initial cost was around $900,000. The Athletic Director, Rick Johns, wrote in an email that the annual maintenance was minimal, and at most the cost was a couple thousand dollars for the yearly grooming. He added that with a turf field they can play through all weather conditions on a consistently safe and reliable playing surface.

 

The Varsity Wolfpack football team played home games at Blake, which was an artificial turf field. The Junior Varsity Wolfpack team played some games at the Middle and Lower school campus field. Freshman Jose (Tony) Avila-Tovalin played in games for both teams. “When you’re running, you can accelerate faster [on turf],” he said about the turf and grass game locations he’s played on.

According to the Startribune, the artificial turf company FieldTurf claimed that artificial turf would cost less in the long run. Artificial turf can cost between $600,000-
$1,500,000 initially, but has cheaper yearly costs. Grass fields are estimated to cost around $52,000 each year for maintenance, while artificial turf fields don’t need maintenance until after 10-12 years.

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