District 225 seeking outside funds for stadium turf
Updated: November 28, 2011 8:49AM
Glenbrook High School Board of Education is again considering artificial turf at sports stadiums for Glenbrook North and South campuses.
But this time around, a plan with funding was presented Monday night to board members that proposed a $1 million fundraising effort from the public.
Cost for both installations was $3.4 million, which included $1.2 million spent on new running tracks and water detentions.
Remaining costs would come from $400,000 in building funds and $900,000 in capital reserve funds.
Another $1.8 million could be found in federal Build America Bonds that were signed into law with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.
The turf fields would be ready by the 2013 school year with construction from May to August.
School officials said only 4 percent of grass fields at both campuses were used during allowable times, whereas turf will allow 100 percent use.
Not only could sport teams play and practice on turf, but also physical education classes, marching band and school and community competitions, they said.
A school report stated only 130 students per school benefited from grass field stadiums, and hours used would increase from 170 to 3,500.
John Catalano, athletic director at Glenbrook North, said grass fields were often too wet to play on and they typically get damaged from usage when wet.
Teams must then practice inside, he said.
“We can use turf all the time. Our athletes are not as well prepared as other teams that have turf because they can practice on turf a month longer than we can,” he said.
Turf playing fields last about 10.
Steve Stanicek, physical education supervisor at Glenbrook South, told the board nine gym classes could be scheduled per day on turf, plus football, soccer and lacrosse teams.
“They would be huge facilities for us all day long,” he said.
Board member Joel Taub supported the installations, but said they should not be delayed if the public fundraiser fell short of money by the Sept. 1, 2012, deadline.
“I wouldn’t want this project contingent on the fundraiser. I suggest we pay for it. We have $63 million in reserves. Fund it out of capital projects,” he said.
Glenbrook South Principal Brian Wegley believed “considerable support” existed in the community and booster clubs for turf fields.
“I would be shocked if we didn’t raise the $1 million. It won’t be easy, but there is support,” he said.
Board members are scheduled for Nov. 14 to vote on the projects, and they wanted more information on costs for both grass and turf maintenance.
Michael Riggle, 225 School District superintendant, said saving money on full-time turf maintenance workers was a “fallacy,” as they would be busy keeping grass fields in shape.
Board President Skip Shein said digging into capital or reserve funds could impact teacher salary negotiations.
“I don’t’ know how the staff will react to this,” he said.
The report also stated 130 high school fields had turf, among them nearby Deerfield, Maine South, Evanston, Niles West and Loyola Academy.