Ground Work Laid Out for Artificial Turf Field at Glenbard South
Glenbard District 87 school board members hear plans for an artificial field that relies on outside donors.
Glenbard Township High School District 87 may be one step closer to fulfilling a plan, established in 2008, to install artificial turf on the athletic fields of each of the four high schools in the district.
During Monday’s board meeting, Glenbard South Principal Terri Hanrahan laid the groundwork for a $1.5 million turf project at her school – funded primarily by an anonymous donor and a school booster organization. The Glenbard South Boosters pledged to fund one-third of the project throughout a 10-year period, while an anonymous donor promised to fund $405,000 in two installments. The district would issue bonds for the remaining third of the costs. However, because the booster club will not be able to provide their portion of the funds prior to the beginning of the project, the district would have to issue bonds for about $1 million.
Although the board took no action on the turf issue, board member Tom Voltaggio expressed concern over the proposed funding, particularly the $500,000 pledged by the boosters. Voltaggio acknowledged the boosters have a track record of raising large sums of money, including $250,000 for lights at Glenbard South, but said that happened before the national economic downturn. He said if they booster organization fails to raise the funds, that would create an additional financial burden on the district. Voltaggio asked, “A half-million from a booster organization is a big chunk of money. Are the boosters prepared to contribute this large chunk of money over 10 years?”
Hanrahan said the booster club has a strong track record of meeting their financial pledges.
According to district staff, the 100,000 square-foot project will cost about $10 per square feet, roughly $845,000. The remaining funds will be used for a drainage system and construction of the field.
Relying on outside funding for improving athletic facilities is nothing new. When Glenbard North laid artificial turf at their athletic field, the school relied on outside donors, including the Carol Stream Park District.
In addition to financial concerns, Voltaggio and board member Mary Ozog expressed concern over some of the materials used in artificial turf. Voltaggio said some of the turfs made from chopped-up automobile tires contain toxins like arsenic. He speculated that laying a field with that kind of material could open the district up to lawsuits in the future.
Ozog said she would like to see ecological information on the various surfaces before making any kind of decision about a new field.
Voltaggio also said the district should be aware of how the various artificial surfaces absorb sunlight which impacts the heat levels on the field.
According to the draft documents, the field could be installed by the summer of 2012. If the field is later approved for installation that will leave Glenbard East as the only high school within District 87 that does not have a turfed field.