BOE considers artificial turf


The Hays High School athletic fields could get new turf before the spring sports season.

Hays USD 489 administrators are recommending the board of education accept bids of $1,647,243 for artificial turf at their 6:30 p.m. meeting Monday in the Toepfer Board Room at Rockwell Administration Center, 323 W. 12th.

If board members approve, artificial turf will be installed at the baseball and soccer/football fields.

The coaching staff started work on a baseball field at Hays High in 1981, said Frank Leo, Hays High baseball coach.

"We started at square one and planted grass," Leo said.

The field was built with donations and volunteer labor.

Fences, trees and dugouts were added beginning in 1983.

A few years later, the school district installed a sprinkler system, and a joint venture between the district and donations put in some lights in 2005.

"It's an ongoing process. (It was) built over the course of years by the coaching staff," Leo said. "Every tree you see out there, we planted."

As it's developed into a stadium with bleachers, press box and concession stand, the grass field itself has deteriorated because of a lack of water, Leo said.

They use a water well for irrigation, but the quantity and rate of water used is regulated by the Division of Water Resources Office in Stockton.

"We've always had issues with enough water," Deputy Superintendent Richard Cain said.

Cain said it would be too costly to use city water to water the field.

This year, we've "had little or no rain. Even when we have normal rain, it's borderline," Leo said of maintaining the grass.

He's reseeded the field in pieces every year and made do with limited watering in the fall.

"This year, the piece (needing reseeded) was the whole field," Leo said.

Cain said laying artificial turf would be a long-term solution.

Using other sports fields in town for games isn't a viable option, Leo said.

None of the fields at the new sports complex or at Dusty Glassman Ball Park are large enough for high school baseball, he said.

Larks Park would work, but the Fort Hays State University baseball team uses it for practice and games during the season, so scheduling would be difficult.

The district has received a bid of $920,645, for artificial turf for the field, which measures approximately 120,600 square feet.

Administrators also are recommending the board approve installing turf on the HHS soccer/football field at the same time.

The bid for artificial turf for that field measuring approximately 91,200 square feet is $767,598.

The district would get a discount of $41,000 if it does both fields, making the total $1,647,243. The money will come from the capital outlay budget.

Bids for financing the project also will be considered at the meeting.

Cain has allotted $187,000 from capital outlay for 10 years to pay for both fields. After 10 years, the amount is $100,000 for maintenance.

If the board approves, administrators hope to have the field ready for the baseball team's first home game April 2.

Also on Monday's agenda are appointing the facilities needs committee and approving the appointment of Cheryl Shubert as board clerk effective Dec. 1.