Tonganoxie turf talk
The grass could be greener year round at Beatty Field in the coming years.
Michelle Kuhns with Hellas Construction spoke to the Tonganoxie USD 464 School Board during its regular meeting Monday about artificial turf.
Kuhns, who said she had been in education for 23 years, has joined Hellas, which specializes in field turf. The company has done projects from the turf at massive AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys to Kansas Wesleyan’s football field in Salina. The company also has done the University Kansas softball field at Rock Chalk Park.
Kuhn’s talked about advantages of artificial turf, such as eliminating watering and planting costs, as well as safety considerations that go into the fields’ design.
But with the lack of maintenance costs come the up-front costs. Kuhns said the initial cost for the various foundation layers and the turf would be $750,000 to $800,000, with a shelf life of eight to 10 years.
Replacement costs would be anywhere from $350,000 to $450,000 for the turf after that.
“The number obviously scares people at first,” Kuhns said.
But Kuhns again pointed to safety, along with increased playing time on the field, community enhancement and that the field would be aesthetically pleasing.
Kuhns brought a mock display of what the Beatty Field turf might resemble. The Tonganoixe “T” at midfield with two alternating tones of green every five yards. But the field’s actual look, if the district did move to the artificial turf, would be the district’s call.
Tonganoxie High principal Mark Farrar said turf would be an investment, especially if there’s a rain early in the season. He said the field’s condition diminishes and never really recovers because of its usage for THS varsity and junior varsity games, along with middle school contests.
He also favors Beatty Field being multi-purpose so that both football and soccer could play there if field turf were installed. THS soccer played at Chieftain Park for several years, but has played some seasons at the field south of the THS west campus.
THS soccer teams will do the same this year because the Chieftain Park field won’t be ready for the season, as the field still needs more time after a fungus forced the field to be completely replanted.
Kuhns also stressed that the field could be used for curriculum more often with physical education and marching band being able to utilize the more durable artificial surface at will. She said during her years in education, it was hard to find weekends when the field wasn’t because of a high demand. If it were used for soccer, Kuhns said a yellow line usually is used to differentiate the soccer boundaries. She said her former district had another color, which caused a problem with a color blind player.
Board member Dan Hopkins noted that THS had to play a football games on occasion on the road because of poor field conditions at Beatty Field, including one instance on Bonner Springs’ artificial field.
How to fund a field was discussed briefly, as Hopkins said it could be a matter of raising taxes by a mill to fund such a project. Kuhns said there also were grants and other possibilities. Though the company is based in Austin, Texas, the CEO has Kansas ties.
Kuhns said the company would be available if the district decided to pursue the project further.
“You need to show this town off,” Kuhns said.
Hopkins also asked school officials for annual costs of maintenance for Beatty Field.