The local school governing board approved a state-of-the-art football field to complement Maricopa High School’s new classroom buildings next season.
An artificial turf football field will serve multiple purposes by providing MHS a surface that can be used almost constantly without any repercussions, district officials said.
MHS Principal Jeff Kleck said it was his experience as a football coach in previous years that the sod field would become unsafe by the end of the season because of overuse. Three football programs and four soccer programs practice and play on the grass field.
Board member Tim White voiced concerns that the district would be spending a large amount of money to install the field and then keep spending money to maintain it, eliminating any supposed long-term cost benefits.
Financial Director Burnie Hibbard agreed that the amount spent on the one football field for artificial turf would not match the cost for a sod field. But if sod was used the school would need to buy more land for fields the teams could practice on to avoid destroying it from continued overuse and to keep it safe for students.
With the artificial turf field, the football teams, soccer teams and physical education classes at the school will be able to use the field daily. The field will come pre-striped for both football and soccer. Hibbard estimated that the turf field will cost an extra $600,000 more upfront than the cost of sod but added that the school would be forced to pay nearly the same amount if other land had to be purchased and landscaped.
The approval of the purchase of artificial turf passed 3-1. Tim White voted against the turf and Jim Chaston was absent.
Photo by RuthAnn Hogue