September 27th, 2011 at 2:34 AM ^

  1. That's hideous.
  2. "St. Mary’s is one of the few schools in the county that still plays on a natural grass surface, but like other schools that have installed artificial surfaces over the years, the cost of putting in the turf offsets all the maintenance costs and wear and tear of a grass field."

Is it true that a vast majority of high schools in the country use some kind of artificial turf? I went to a well off high school (although known as a basketball school) in Illinois and I can't think of any schools in our coference without natural grass fields. OSU was natural until 2006, Beaver Stadium is grass, Ryan Field is grass, as is Spartan Stadium, Ross-Ade, and ND Stadium.


September 27th, 2011 at 5:14 AM ^

It is a lot upfront - but it's helped out by saving on water usage (so you can usually capture some environmental grant or tax break) and the cost of upkeep of a grass field is pretty significant. Now factor in that a lot of these fields are multi-sport, and the economics of it usually work out pretty well.


September 27th, 2011 at 9:14 AM ^

I live in the western suburbs of Cleveland.  15 years ago, just about the only schools with turf were huge schools with major football programs (e.g. Lakewood stadium, which is used by both Lakewood HS and St. Ed's HS, home of Kyle Kalis).  Now, most of the west side public schools have gone to turf.  Considering that a single field is often used for varsity football, JV football, freshman football, maybe junior high football, and both boys and girls soccer in the fall, with all the rain we've had this fall, the grass fields are in horrible shape right now.  Some of them are completely unplayable for soccer.  A few years ago, a soccer fan donated a sizable sum of money to have a high school's grass field completely regraded and reseeded.  The next fall, the football team played on it in the rain and basically ruined it for the rest of the season.

The turf fields are all frequently used for state playoff games in both soccer and football.  I don't know about football, but all of the games from the sweet 16 on in soccer (except the finals in Columbus Crew stadium) are played on turf.  Many districts actually have all the district and sectional games at a single turf stadium as well. 

As for the red field idea: yuck.  I'll bet Brady Hoke is not a fan either.


September 27th, 2011 at 8:45 AM ^

I don't think wealth necessarily has everything to do with it.  I live in Hocking County, Ohio, a designated part of Appalachia, and we just built a four million dollar +/- football stadium with field turf and a 1000 square foot pressbox.  Part of the cost is being offset by hosting state playoff games. 

We haven't lived in the area for a long time and our daughter isn't in school yet so I don't know exactly how they manage to stay in the black at the district.  I know we get a lot of matching grant funding because of our economic designation. 

Steve in PA

September 27th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

I'm considering a run for school board spurred in part by the decrepid nature of the school and facilities.  The gym & bleachers are over 50 years old, the track is still a crackerdust/cinder track, and the football field is a mere pasture that they put one sprinkler on when it gets dry.  

The buildings are crumbling and were all built when Lyndon Johnson was president.


September 27th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

If you have a passion to make changes for the better you should definitely run for you local school board.  We need more people like you who care about the job, not just getting the job.

I really think we have some good people on our school board and we get a lot of funding from the state and feds.  If you are interested, here are the district site and annual report.  I try to read through the shorter report we get every year and I'm thinking we've had a carryover the last 5 or 6 years.  Good luck with whatever you decide.


September 27th, 2011 at 11:52 AM ^

So your school district was able to build a 1,000 sq ft press box+stadium+field BECAUSE of your economic designation.... that makes sense.  Wow America.... you're poor, so we'll help you pay for things.... LIKe COMPLETELY REDICULOUS THINGS THAT YOU STATED ABOVE. If your school district can't pay for a new stadium by itself, should it really be building the stadium? Oh no wait, just ask for "matching grant money" to offset the idiotic financial planning. Maybe buy some books instead of a new stadium.....


September 27th, 2011 at 3:33 AM ^

I can't stand this new trend. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but these colored fields are ridiculous. Get off my natural lawn. Or get on it, I don't know any more. It's late.

Bo Knows

September 27th, 2011 at 3:42 AM ^

The high school I went to is in Michigan and wouldn't be considered one of you more well  off districts.  It did however have a turf field, as did everyone in our conference.  it's becoming the norm.


September 27th, 2011 at 5:51 AM ^

That would be incredibly distracting and, if I may say it, horrific. 

Then again, if you want to tell people that you play in "The Blood Bowl" or at "The Red Spread", I  suppose you could go the Boise State route from a marketing standpoint. I personally can't wait until a team asks for a field that is mauve with yellow diagonal stripes. 


September 27th, 2011 at 7:57 AM ^

Oxford just installed a blue field this year.
Our school is installing a new field which will save them 30-60k a year in normal costs and as the op mentioned they now can use the field for more events.

On another note the field is vandalism proof in regards to drunk weekends in the country with a 4X4 after rain.


September 27th, 2011 at 9:04 AM ^

As a high school student, I know that a lot of kids would really enjoy it. Personally, I like green, but at a school where we are Red and White, I think many of the kids would like it, until they saw a game that is..


September 27th, 2011 at 9:40 AM ^

I didn't read the article but just in case:  Kid Rock's son goes to OLSM.  He chipped in a considerable amount for them to get lights installed last year as did a couple of NFL alumns.  I would be willing to bet he will assist with this as well.  Also, one of the RB's for OLSM's dad is the CEO of Fatheads and he has been known to make it rain occaisionally.

I like the idea of turf at that school - red is maybe a bit trendy but what the heck.  If you have ever been to the field though they have a really really poor set up for fans.  Both the home and visiting bleachers are ludicrously small and give crappy lines of site.  They should spend a little for the fans IMO.


September 27th, 2011 at 10:29 AM ^

Each school is different.  The high school I attended is the only one in that conference that does not have an artificial turf field.  Most of it coming down to the cost of installing the new stuff.

Interestingly there is a small town a few miles from here that hosts a HUGE rodeo each 4th of July, the rodeo stadium doubles as the high school stadium.  Each summer they tear out the grass and put in all dirt and once the rodeo ends, they replant and go back to all grass.  It is a really cool set up that I am sure costs a good sum each year.

Quote from article not written by me:   I have blogged previously about St. Paul football and their very unique home field...a 10,000 seat stadium that host the world famous St. Paul Rodeo on the Fourth of July, but is converted to a football field courtesy of the local Willamette Valley Grass Seed Growers who donate seed and labor to plant a grass football field in the arena in time for football each Fall.  Understand...there are only 85 students in the high school at St. Paul and 354 folks in the entire town.  Here's a link to one of my previous blog stories about St. Paul Football.




September 27th, 2011 at 10:33 AM ^

I'm familiar with OLSM because my high school alma mater & current school district, East Grand Rapids, has played them a number of times in football (and other sports) over the past few years. They have a quality football program (and athletic dept in general) and red turf just seems a bit too gimmicky for them. That being said, EGR had one of the first field-turf fields (standard green) on this side of the state, and it has a made a huge difference, as above posters have mentioned. This was mostly the result of several large donations from within the community, but the voters recently approved millage to replace the field-turf with tax funds.

Not that Boise State needs gimmicks, but I believe they had the blue turf before they became a football power of national significance.


September 27th, 2011 at 10:40 AM ^

Sorry, I also forgot to add: It's interesting that they're considering spending a huge amount to upgrade their football stadium--does OLSM have trouble filling it for their home games? The reason I ask is because they elected to have their home game of our recent (a few years ago now) home-and-home series played at EGR, acting as the home team and taking the gate. They also played their first game of this (2011) season against West Catholic (local team near Grand Rapids), another of their home games from a home-and-home, at EGR as well, again acting as the home team & taking the gate. I realize money is probably not the issue with wealthy donors in the picture, but still, interesting decisions...

Wolverine Pride

September 27th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

Installed Field Turf at our local high school this past summer for several reasons, one of which was not to save money.  Being on the school board and being apart of the planning process for over a year, the cost savings are small when you take into consideration the costs associated with additional usage.  There are more night time activities that require lights and facility supervisors to be on duty, these mostly offset the savings of mowing, fertilizer and water.  Our projection for the first year was the total dollars spent would be the same, but the amount spent per activity would be much less.  In the past we had 4 football games and 14 soccer games, that's it 18 contests a year and no practive allowed.  We opened the field August 25 and have had over 70 practices and 28 games so far. 

The benefits are tremendous.  Our football and soccer teams have a safe, playable field to compete on each game.  Our previous field was destroyed by the 2nd week of competition if there was any rain at all.  The past 5 years we have had to rent neighboring communities fields  at times due to unplayable conditions.  This was getting expensive.  We are a small town with only 2000 students K-12, so our elementary kids can use the field for PE or other activites when the playground is mud.  The youth club sports are renting the facility on a daily basis, it is a true community asset for such a small town. 



September 27th, 2011 at 11:33 AM ^

It's a weird-looking field, but I guess I get it.  Football is becoming more video-gamey all the time, so adding a colored field in HS doesn't seem that crazy to me.  Plus, they'll probably have a bunch of local Pop Warner teams use the facilities as well, and natural grass probably gets chewed up way too quickly. Plus, they may have some alumni money to help out on the bill.


September 27th, 2011 at 12:20 PM ^

It worked for Boise, recently for Oxford High (got them on ESPN).  All press is good press. It gets them name recognition and OLSM is an under the radar destiation except for those who follow High School football closely.  Look at all the D-1 Talent they produce for such a small schoo. It's amazing.  

I am sure someone is donating for the change/maintenance and it's money they would not get otherwise (I could be wrong but that's how these things tend to work). 

All that being said I live near OLSM, drive by it nealry every day and plan on sending my boys there  and I dred the thought of looking at a red field for the rest of my life...but I can live with it.


Cool One

September 27th, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

Now that just increased my chances of getting in an accident. I know I'll be driving down Commerce Rd. doing that "ostrich" neck thing out my window just to see how cool that field looks.