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South Lakes High School Booster Group Exploring Options for Turf Field

Installation and lights would cost around $2 million.

A group of and youth sports parents is exploring the idea of raising money necessary for installing an artificial turf field at the school.

The group met as part of an South Lakes Athletic Boosters' meeting two weeks ago. Also interested in joining the effort are Reston Youth Soccer, Reston Youth Football and the South Lakes High School Marching Band.

Estimated cost of installing turf on two fields, plus lights and maintenance is about $2 million, says Athletic Boosters president Matt Maginniss.

"We talked about the estimated costs and about what each of the groups present would like to see [for example soccer fields are different size than football fields]," Maginniss said.  "We talked about the need to engage the Herndon Boosters to learn the process they went through."

Herndon High installed a turf field in 2010. More than $1.3 was raised in less than a year, Matt  Mahoney, former Herndon High director of student activities, told the Fairfax Times. The fundraising was easier with public-private partnerships, such as with youth sports, he said.

With a turf field, teams can play in poor weather conditions.  Seven of the 25 FCPS high schools have turf fields, and several others are looking into installing them.

Jeremy Lee is heading the subcommittee to explore the turf fields for South Lakes. Anyone interested in joining the effort can email him at turfsouthlakes@gmail.com. There is also a boosters website with more information. Click here to visit it.

To read the rest of the Fairfax Times story, which looks at turf fields in Fairfax County, click here.

John Farrell November 28, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Before we all start having bake sales 'round the clock to raise $2 million, can someone please address the higher rates of injury associate with artificial turf. The NFLPA research shows significantly higher rates for knee and ankle injuries on artificial turf over natural grass. But of far greater concern, since we are talking about a school field, is their report that artificial turf had a 10 fold increase in concussions over natural grass. Concussions among young people have a cumulative and adverse impact on cognitive ability that are life long and can be life shortening. Traumatic impact dementia can lead to life shortening cognitive disabilities and increased incidents of suicide. There has even been informed medical speculation that multiple concussions can lead to ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Let us not sacrifice our children's minds and health for the bright shiny bauble of an artificial turf field.
Mike Heffner November 29, 2011 at 02:23 AM
Honestly, the South Lakes field is one of the best grass fields in Fairfax County. If it were as bad as many of the other fields the Seahawks played on this season, I'd understand - but I'd be wary of taking on the kind of expense a turf field would impose on the booster club long-term.
Melissa Gildea November 29, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Turf means grass. You mean artificial turf. The only reason to install an artificial turf field is to extend the playing use of the field. There are no net savings. In fact the out-of-pocket costs, the costs to the watershed, and the costs to the are more, and in some cases significantly more. Artificial turf requires maintenance (yes!), it is expensive to install, and it does not have an indefinite life and so will load up the landfills with waste material that does not compost. In addition , if it is installed improperly or improperly maintained, the field will have lumps and wrinkles that require reinstallation or repair so that players do not get injured. I've been on some of these fields and I'm so frustrated that the expense was for nought. Lastly, the field has to be installed with an underdrainage system in our soils in order to last. This system forces water into more concentrated discharge than a traditional turf field (especially an unirrigated traditional turf field) and this can create erosion at the point of discharge. I don't know a lot about the costs in terms of injury but this may be another cost to keep in mind. In short, it is important to weigh ALL of the costs because there is only one real benefit. I don't want to diminish the importance of the one benefit but I think a more honest look at the facts in in order.
Melissa Gildea November 29, 2011 at 02:01 PM


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