Former Montague Area Public Schools Superintendent Dave Sipka holds three samples of synthetic turf that the district considered in 2008 for the football field. MAPS Athletic Director/Assistant Principal Ken Diamond is looking to solicit funds from commun
After voters defeated proposals in 2008 and 2009, MAPS Athletic Director/Assistant Principal Ken Diamond said he has come up with a solution to raise money for artificial turf for the football field at Montague Area Public Schools: he is going to solicit private funding.
At the MAPS board meeting on Monday, Oct. 22, Diamond showed the board and public a presentation he made discussing the benefits of artificial turf and the cost.
A new turf field would cost roughly $700,000 to install, but Diamond would not ask the school for any funding. The school would have to pay about $5,000 per year for maintenance, but Diamond explained that the school currently pays around $20,000 per year in maintenance for the grass field. While, he said, the total cost of installing and maintaining an artificial turf field is more expensive up front, the average cost of use an hour would be significantly less. According to statistics he presented, per hour of use on a turf field is around $25.07, while an hour of use on a grass field is around $91.20 (these figures are for 25 weeks of use per year). There are also other cost savings associated with an artificial turf field.
Diamond said one of the main benefits of putting turf on the football field would be the ability to host more events, such as higher level football playoff games. More money from the concession stand would be made, and more people would be using the facility.
ďThe field is never going to be up to the standard that would allow for extensive use,Ē Diamond said.
A turf field could also be used for other sports, such as baseball and softball (practice) and also for physical education classes and youth sports.
According to a study Diamond found, turf fields are safer than natural grass fields. They produce fewer concussions, ACL trauma, severe injuries and ligament tears. Turf fields are also easier on sports equipment, and do not cause grass stains.
Cindy Francis, MAPS board member, said she didnít feel right about Diamond fundraising for new turf. She explained that the district is having to make budget cuts and losing teachers and librarians, and that fundraising for something like turf wasnít right.
Chris Stark, MAPS board member, has a son who plays football and stated that he has played seven games at Oakridge Public Schools, who has turf, and only two games at Montague. She likes the idea of turf because of the added revenue the district would get from concessions during the times when the field would be used.
Diamond made the point that he believes keeping a grass field is not a good use of money.
ďItís not effective to keep throwing money at something thatís never going to work for us,Ē Diamond said.
The life expectancy for turf field would be around eight years, but some can last up to 10, said Diamond. When it needs to be replaced, the cost would be about 60 percent of the original cost, which would be about $420,000. The board asked where that money would come from when the time came to replace the field, and Diamond didnít have a definitive answer. Blair Moreau, MAPS board member, suggested that there be a fund that people could continuously donate to, and the other board members agreed that could be a possibility.
After the presentation and discussion, a motion was made by Dick Hunt and seconded by Stark to allow Diamond to solicit donations, but the motion was tabled by Francis, who said she wanted more time to discuss the details.
When asked if he had any interested donors or a specific plan to solicit bids, Diamond stated that he didnít have either because he wanted to get the boardís blessing first before pursuing the plan further.
Diamond said he would form a committee to bring to the next board meeting, and also be ready to answer any questions the board members have about the plan.
The next board meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 26, at 6:15 p.m. at Montague High School.