The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

Not Bidding Farewell to Turf After All

Ten days after the Board of Education delayed a vote on the question, the possibility remains for the installation of a turf field and track for fall 2012.

Board of Education Vice President Annette Sutherland explained that additional information and advice was given to the board prior to the March 13 board meeting which led the board to postpone the vote.

“We were getting information from other districts about track and field projects that used different contractors, different planners and managers, and had some prices with that we thought should be compared with what we were anticipating that our project would cost,” Sutherland said.

District Director of Communications Peggy Caldwell said that the project will be put up for competitive bidding starting April 17 with a pre-bid conference meeting April 11.

 “Any company planning to bid on the project has to come to this meeting and walk around the site to make sure they understand what they’re proposing to get into,” Caldwell said.

Following bidding, the district will interview the companies that submitted the best proposals. Caldwell said assuming that the bids received are “responsive and responsible,” construction could begin start this summer.

“The bid document and the request for bids are going to be specific about pieces of the project that have been decided by our staff working with the facility committee,” Sutherland said.

 After the March 13 meeting, Bob McKeiver, a representative of a Parma Heights company FieldTurf, expressed surprise at the BOE decision and said his company had been collaborating with the district on the project. Both Sutherland and Caldwell said no contract exists between the district and FieldTurf.

However, installing one field will not eliminate all concerns. Schedules will have to fairly distribute turf use to varsity teams for games. Junior varsity teams will continue to play games on the district’s degraded grass fields. Both varsity and JV soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams will continue to use the Woodbury and Onaway grass fields for practice.

“The scheduling issues will be significant; it won’t be a small thing,” Caldwell said.

“One field is not going to meet all needs. No one is expecting that. It will significantly improve playing conditions and it will increase playing time because there is no down time between contests and the drainage is better,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell explained that use of the turf field would reduce the wear and tear on the grass fields, leaving them in somewhat better shape for practices and JV games.

Even though stadium lights would help scheduling, Caldwell said they are not being considered by the district. An additional turf field is more likely.

“If this goes well, there is the possibility of another synthetic turf field down the road. Not immediately, but this is a start and because the track absolutely had to be done. It would be more expensive to do the track and field separately,” Caldwell said.

Flexibility will be key to the transition to turf.

Caldwell said, “If everybody is willing to bend a little bit, it’s for the good of all.”

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