After almost a decade of use, the time has come for the athletic field artificial turf at Walled Lake Northern High School to be replaced.
“It has reached the end of its useful life,” said Walled Lake Consolidated Schools’ Director of Operations Bill Chatfield. “The nylon grass blades on the system have deteriorated. The seams are splitting. The turf has exceeded what was originally supposed to be an eight-year life span, and now it needs to be replaced.”
The contract to replace the turf was recently awarded to Astro Turf, LLC, for $380,000.
The funds for the project will come out of the district’s sinking fund, which is a capital improvement fund.
“It’s a separate levy that can only be used for capital improvement repairs and new installations for buildings and systems in the district,” Chatfield said. “So it can’t be used for wages or supplies or those types of things. Therefore, it has no bearing or impact on the general fund.”
The project is slated to begin as soon as school ends and to be completed by August for the beginning of the fall sports season.
In addition to being used by school sports teams, the district also rents out the field to generate a little bit of revenue.
“The big benefit of a synthetic turf field is that it provides unlimited access,” Chatfield said. “Community groups, little league football and soccer can use it all year round. That’s not possible with grass fields. We were limited to 30 events per year because more risked damage to the field. Now, we run in excess of 200 events per year.”