Barrington High says its artificial turf is nearing end of its life
Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials say the high school outdoor stadium's artificial turf field is nearing the end of its life and could be replaced within two years.
FieldTurf was installed as part of the new Barrington High School stadium unveiled in August 2008. Used by many suburban schools, FieldTurf USA Inc.'s surface includes sand and rubber particles between plastic fibers in an effort to provide players better footing and shock absorption.
District 220 voters authorized construction of the new stadium with an eight-lane track and a larger field surface through a $4.4 million borrowing plan approved in 2007. About $765,000 was gained from private donors through 10-year advertising deals that paid for stadium enhancements such as the artificial surface and upgraded main scoreboard.
But school board members at their most recent meeting said the replacement field should be considered part of routine maintenance and be in the district's budget.
"When we accepted that donation (in 2008), it was always in my mind that we were going to have to maintain the field," board member Penny Kazmier said. "And if we can get donations to help us with that, that would be great. But I always thought that would come out of our budget."
A preliminary estimate shows the field replacement could cost $710,000. Board members agreed the money could be placed in a capital projects fund and designated specifically for new turf.
School board member Joseph Ruffolo said the replacement of the all-weather artificial turf every 10 years or so is a maintenance expense no different than if the district had to pay for daily upkeep of a grass field. He also questioned the estimated life left in the field.
"Quite frankly, I don't believe it's going to last two years, personally," Ruffolo said. "It's my own opinion. It's not completely frazzled, but it's getting there."
District 220 officials have not reported any problems with FieldTurf. However, in an open letter from FieldTurf CEO and President Eric Daliere, the company addressed complaints by some schools, acknowledging there have been premature breakdowns in the Duraspine fiber in its surfaces in certain high-UV environments mostly in southern and southwestern states.
"This is not about safety and has never been a nationwide problem," Daliere wrote.
District 220 has $500,000 in fresh 10-year sponsorship deals starting in 2018-19 to fund the addition of a new stadium scoreboard and video display in time for the football season. Other private money raised could go toward construction of a pavilion, officials said.