Glenbard East High School in Lombard will become the fourth and final school in District 87 to get artificial field turf on its campus.
The school board voted 6-1 this week to put the estimated $1.3 million project out to bid, which follows a similar action in February to seek bids for a $1.5 million turf and track project at Glenbard South near Glen Ellyn.
In 2009, Glenbard North in Carol Stream became the first school to get new turf, and in 2010, artificial turf was installed at Memorial Field at Glenbard West in Glen Ellyn.
The funding arrangement for the East turf is structured similarly to the North model, which relied on contributions from the school’s boosters organization and Carol Stream Park District, in exchange for some park district use of the field.
For the East turf, Lombard Park District is providing $500,000 and through an intergovernmental agreement has committed to funding half the cost of replacing the field turf, which is expected to last eight to 15 years.
The park district will get use of the field for its programming on weekends and after-school hours when Glenbard East is not using it for sports and extracurricular activities, but the arrangement also means the school will be able to use park district facilities, according to Principal Josh Chambers.
“We see this not as a single project, but as an opportunity to solidify our relationship with them,” Chambers said.
The Glenbard East Boosters Club has committed to funding up to $433,333 over the course of 10 years to cover some of the district’s remaining $800,000 cost. The district will issue bonds and intends to pay off the project in eight years, officials said.
The lone vote against the project, board member Tom Voltaggio, expressed concern that the materials that could be used for the turf — often old car tires — are harmful to the environment and students on the field. He said bidding for the turf project should reflect nothing but “the best material” and that spending a little more would end up saving the district money in legal fees as the result of potential lawsuits down the line.
“Athletic fields are not the place to use them,” Voltaggio said. “Not on an athletic field where kids are going to be playing.”
Board President Rich Heim said the board will have a discussion about the materials to be used once the bid results come in.
Chris McClain, the assistant superintendent for business services, said the bid results would include alternates for various materials that could be used.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.