Carlton Smith Field to have turf replaced

The turf on the high school field will be replaced this summer, starting June 6.

The district’s business manager John Eikenberry said the replacement should take four to five weeks, weather permitting.

The request for the replacement was sent to the Board of Education Nov. 10 and approved Dec. 7, Eikenberry said. The initial synthetic turf was installed in 2000, but the first re-turfing of the Carlton Smith Field did not occur until autumn of 2011, he said, with its warranty lasting eight years. He noted that it is typical for the district to replace the turf every 11 years.

The district created a plan in 2011 to finance future maintenance costs, Eikenberry explained. Two cell towers that double as stadium lighting poles were installed, he said, and the monthly revenue the district receives through these cellular towers pays for projects such as the turf replacement. The total cost to replace the turf is $535,000, Eikenberry added.

He said the new turf will look very similar to the existing turf, with the addition of permanent lacrosse lines, including the end line, sideline, midfield line and restraining line.

Girls soccer coach Scott James said he is looking forward to the replacement due to the struggles his team faces as a result of the turf’s current condition.

“In the summer after it rained, there was a spot of bubbled up turf as tall as one of the players,” James said.

Junior Max Esque, a football and lacrosse player, said that these elevated patches of turf negatively affected the football team.

“While playing, these patches can cause injury,” Esque said. “I’ve twisted my ankle on them before, and it’s really not safe to play on.”

James said he is looking forward to the replacement because he thinks it will eliminate common hazards such as slipping with cleats, and it will provide clearer lines for sports.

James added that he hopes the new turf will imitate grass, as it will help his team practice at a more realistic and game-like speed.

“Our current turf is so fast, so when we go to play teams on grass fields or grass simulated turf fields, it really slows us down,” James said.

Esque said he is looking forward to seeing the new turf.

“I’m super excited for them to replace the turf,” Esque said. “I think it’s needed and will impact the school positively.”