New artificial turf caps off improvements at Barrington High stadium

Barrington High School's stadium has a new artificial turf field, completing $1.3 million in upgrades to the facility covered by private donations and public money.

Some Barrington High Broncos football players practiced on the field Wednesday, a couple of days after it became available to them. Junior Ryan Smith, who will be a receiver on the varsity squad, gave the fresh FieldTurf a thumbs-up.

"It feels very smooth," Smith said.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members in April agreed to replace the old synthetic surface after about 11 years of use. Officials said the turf was nearing the end of its life.

David Bein, District 220's assistant superintendent of business services, said he expects the turf to cost less than the $700,000 budgeted from the capital projects fund. Bein and Barrington High Athletic Director Mike Obsuszt researched artificial surfaces before recommending the district stay with FieldTurf USA Inc.

Barrington Community Stadium received upgrades before the 2018-19 academic year, including a new main scoreboard and video board, funded by private sponsorships totaling $650,000. With the latest turf project, that means the improvements paid with private and public money since last year should wind up around a combined $1.3 million.

"You can't have the kinds of things that we have without that (private) generosity," Bein said on the stadium field Wednesday. "It's really important."

FieldTurf first was installed as part of the new stadium that debuted in August 2008. Similar to that used by many other suburban schools, the original surface included sand and rubber particles between plastic fibers in an effort to provide players better footing and shock absorption.

For the replacement, District 220 opted for a slightly different multisports turf blend that's designed to withstand greater wear and tear. Bein said the process began in June with the removal of the original surface.

"We considered the different kinds of turf options that were available," Bein said, "and went with something that would provide a great solution for the variety of sports and programming that we do out here on the field."

Obsuszt said the field is used by physical education classes, athletic teams, marching band and youth sports programs. In addition, he said, the stadium's field and track are open from dawn to dusk for public use when not scheduled for the students.

"Back in the days when we had a grass stadium field, field use was very minimal," Obsuszt said. "The stadium field was only used for football and boys soccer games in the fall, and girls soccer and occasional lacrosse games in the spring. Teams did not practice regularly on the field and daily physical education classes never used the field."

Back at football practice, varsity Broncos defensive back Brodin Loppnow said he liked the new field.

"It feels like it has a little more give, it's a little softer," said Loppnow, a senior. "It doesn't feel like it's as hard on my feet, but it does have that give."

Barrington High will open the football season Aug. 30 at Warren Township High School in Gurnee. The first home contest will be Sept. 6 against Buffalo Grove High School.

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  Barrington High School's stadium has a new artificial turf field, completing upgrades to the facility expected to total about $1.3 million. Some football players practicing on the surface gave it a thumbs-up Wednesday. Mark Welsh/
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