Synthetic Turf Feasibility Study
Originally Presented to the Board of Education
January 6, 2011
By Dr. David R. Schuler, superintendent
Updated January 11, 2011
Over the past several years, the Board of Education and district officials have received numerous comments from staff and community members, some positive and some negative, regarding the installation of synthetic (artificial) turf in the district. As a result, this feasibility study is designed to determine whether or not it would be feasible to install synthetic turf in District 214 stadiums.
For years in the fall and spring of the year, our stadium fields have not been in acceptable playing condition due to rain, exacerbated this past spring by an extended cold spell, which prevented grass from growing on the stadium fields for our spring sports seasons. As a result, we have had to move competitions off the stadium fields and onto practice fields.
Physical education classes rarely are able to access the stadium fields for outdoor classes due to unacceptable field conditions, and our marching bands also rarely are able to practice on the fields due to their conditions.
Two years ago, one marching band performed only one half-time show the entire football season due to field conditions, and the officials at one varsity football game almost canceled the game due to questionable field conditions. Thankfully, no significant injury occurred that evening, as there would have been no way for an ambulance or golf cart to get onto and off the field with the injured student athlete.
Several marching bands host marching band invitationals, which are the bands biggest annual fundraisers. Both Wheeling and Prospect’s invitationals have been losing participation because marching band directors would prefer to march on a turf field where they know their band’s uniforms will not be ruined and the invitational will not be canceled or moved indoors.
Our spring girls’ soccer programs are at a significant disadvantage, because both the boys’ soccer season and football season are in the fall. If a field gets torn up and is unusable at the end of the fall season, the stadium field often is unplayable in the spring. That results in our girls’ soccer teams not playing on the stadium field and being forced to play on smaller, non-regulation practice fields without lights or stands
for fans. As a result of that extra usage, the practice fields are often torn up and in poor condition.
Additionally, over the past 10-15 years, we have added sports levels for both boys and girls soccer and softball. There are also more junior varsity football games and intramural events, which places additional stress on our practice fields.