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Pennsylvania County School Board Votes on Synthetic Turf Field



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A school board in Middletown, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, are weighing the pros and cons of installing synthetic turf in one of their school's sports field. And synthetic turf seems to be in the lead. The school board will vote this week on whether to move forward with the $1.5 million project.

Because of the field's drainage issues, they are considering synthetic turf. Installing synthetic turf would increase the usability of the field, which with the current natural grass surface can only support 40 events per year. Synthetic turf would support 400, ten times that of natural turf. This increased usability would allow all of the clubs and sports teams to have access to the field and increase student morale.

The investment of a natural turf upgrade would be less initially but over ten years the cost to maintain would be $595,000. Synthetic turf, on the other hand, would cost $1.57 million but would allow the field to be leased out to interested groups, generating income for the entire district, and wouldn't require any maintenance.

Some pointed out in the school board meeting that no matter what materials is installed in the fields the tendency is to let groups use the fields for free, which costs are deducted from taxpayer money.

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For many high schools, installing synthetic turf gives their teams a competitive edge. The synthetic turf surface allows them to practice on the field 365 days a year, no matter the weather conditions, and habituates them to playing on a surface material that is quickly becoming the standard material in high school sports. However, installing the synthetic turf in the field can be prohibitively expensive for many high schools.

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