April 8, 2011
District 214 Finds Partners to Share Synthetic Turf Costs
Three months after the school board directed the Township High School District 214 administration to find partners to split the costs of installing synthetic turf in its stadium fields, the administration has found two.
Superintendent Dave Schuler announced at Thursday’s board meeting that both Arlington Heights and Wheeling Park Districts have agreed in concept to partner with the school district to install synthetic turf at John Hersey and Wheeling high schools this summer. While the details are still being finalized, Schuler will ask the Board to take action on the Intergovernmental Agreements at the next board meeting.
"I am very pleased to have found two partners to collaborate with us on this project," said Schuler. "This partnership will benefit both communities by expanding opportunities while saving dollars. It is a win-win for the park districts, the school district, and our entire community."
The Park Districts will have significant access to the fields during the evenings, on weekends and days during the summer to support their soccer, football, lacrosse, and other programs. Through both Park Districts, all Arlington Heights and Wheeling residents will have access to those fields.
"This is a great way to maximize the use of taxpayers’ dollars and at the same time maximize use of a community facility," said Board President Bill Dussling.
A feasibility study indicated there were many benefits to installing the synthetic turf if the costs could be shared. To do so alone was cost prohibitive. By sharing the costs with partners, the field would pay for itself in less than 8-1/2 years compared to a field’s life expectancy of 10-12 years. The return on investment would be even greater if District 214 and the Park Districts decide to continue their shared-cost partnership beyond 12 years. The savings associated with the installation can be re-allocated to support teachers or other educational purposes.
Other benefits of installing synthetic turf include:
- enhanced community use of the facility
- access to the field by every student in the school
- significant increase in the stadium fields’ usage for physical education classes, marching band competitions, athletic contests, and additional outside rentals
- more environmentally friendly than maintaining natural grass
- the implementation of an Organic Grass Management program and elimination of pesticides and fungicides on the schools’ practice fields by utilizing the stadium field for physical education classes and athletic and marching band practices
- potential to raise revenue in the district through an increase in facility rentals