Libertyville High stadium getting new artificial turf
The Libertyville High School Wildcats will have a new artificial turf field for their home football games when the season begins in the fall.
The Wildcats abandoned natural grass for turf in 2005, a year after winning the Class 7A state title. The playing surface being installed this month replaces that turf.
Although artificial turf is more durable than natural grass, the field was worn down after 12 years of use.
"The fibers have split over the years and started curling up," Libertyville High Athletic Director Briant Kelly said. "The surface has actually become much harder and is not as safe."
The surface had a life expectancy of about 10 years, Kelly said.
Replacing the turf will cost an estimated $518,000. Funding was included in the school district's annual budget.
That wasn't the case for the original turf field, which cost an estimated $650,000 and was funded with private donations.
The other Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 campus, Vernon Hills High, got an artificial turf football field in 2012. That $800,000 project was privately funded, too.
The large field at the Brainerd athletic compound in Libertyville has artificial turf as well. In fact, it's the same Field Turf product that's being installed at Libertyville High.
"Our players and coaches have found it to be a great playing surface," Kelly said.
The new field should be more durable and safer for athletes than the old one, he said.
The old turf has been removed. On Tuesday, workers used heavy machines to level the crushed stone layer atop which the new playing surface will be laid. That could happen next week.
Mundelein, Stevenson, Lake Zurich, Wauconda and Carmel Catholic are among the other Lake County high schools with artificial turf fields.