Vernon schools to spend $700K on new turf field for football and track

Vernon. The new field will replace turf that is reaching the end of its lifespan, and be ready for fall sports in 2021.

15 Dec 2020 | 10:10

The Vernon Township School District Board of Education expects to vote Dec. 17 on whether to spend about $700,000 to replace the turf football field and the surrounding track at Vernon Township High School.

Athletic director Bill Foley said the conversation began about two years ago, as the turf was reaching the end of its expected lifespan. Vernon has had its current turf field for 13 years.

“I never wanted to get to a point in time where we’ve had to cancel a season do to field failure due to the life expectancy of the turf,” Foley said. “It’s better to be prepared as opposed to waiting for something bad to happen.”

In October, the board of education moved $500,000 into the district’s capital reserve fund to cover the cost of replacing the field, estimated then at about $444,000. The current proposal from FieldTurf, the company that installed the current field 13 years ago, also includes replacing the track.

“Fixing the track would be more visual,” Foley said.

He said there are tears on some of the external areas of the track. In other areas the drainage isn’t working well, especially the two corners on the home-bleacher side, he said.

Foley said the district had received three different proposals for the turf and the track. He said FieldTurf was the best price the district received. FieldTurf didn’t put in the current track.

“There was another company within the FieldTurf system that I felt was better and was more in depth than what the original track vendor was willing to do,” Foley said.

He said replacing the turf field at the high school will cost much less than what Vernon Township paid to put turf down at Maple Grange Park.

Board of education member Joseph Sweeney said the turf field gets much more use than the grass field did. When it was grass, he said, it was only used by the football team and the marching band. He said more programs can use the artificial surface.

Foley said FieldTurf promised him that Vernon would be given first priority next summer. The turf replacement could begin the Monday after graduation and be ready for fall sports, he said.

“I never wanted to get to a point in time where we’ve had to cancel a season do to field failure due to the life expectancy of the turf. It’s better to be prepared as opposed to waiting for something bad to happen.” Bill Foley, athletic director