College stadiums and artificial turf are everywhere it seems.Take our featured image for this post as an example. With the help of Under Armour, the Golden Bears got a new turf upgrade for their stadium last year. It seems California middle and high schools are following suit for several reasons. One stands out. The state is perpetually under a drought condition of one sort or another. As long as weather records have been kept, drought is a part of the story.
Water usage is a huge concern. Artificial grass athletic fields conserve water.Traditional fields can use more than 10,000 gallons per day during the the growing season. That equates to millions of gallons per year. That’s a lot of water. This is why many California schools install artificial grass fields whenever they can. It's a growing trend. Here's why.
Why Many California Schools Install Artificial Grass
Many California schools install artificial grass because it is weather friendly. What does this mean exactly? No more rain delays or cancellations. Artificial grass fields can be played in any weather. Also, they won’t scorch or burn like traditional grass. Artificial Grass can tolerate inclement weather in and around San Ramon. Players love artificial grass fields because they contain no divots, pitting, unevenness or fading. Even better? The field looks and performs just as good as the day it was installed.
No Mud Puddles
Playing on a wet field can be challenging, not to mention the mess. Players get knocked around, slipping and sliding across the field. The end result are filthy uniforms and muddy cleats that spread their gift across your living room floor. None of that happens with synthetic grass. Research proves they are safer. Safety keeps the game competitive, making it more enjoyable to watch. Plus, mom and dad get the benefit of no dirty cleats in the SUV, and a uniform that is easier to launder.
Natural grass fields require chalk lines or paint which must be maintained regularly in order for the field to look its best. This is costly because each time reapplication is required, precise measurements must be taken to ensure field markings are correct. Artificial grass only needs to be painted once. With proper care, the lines will last for years. They don’t have to be re-striped every season. This saves time and money, which is why many California schools install artificial grass fields.
They Take a Beating
If you are familiar with school sports, you know athletic fields get more abuse than the players. At the beginning of the season athletes enjoy a nice, lush field. It looks fresh and inviting. However, at the end of the season the same field looks like a trauma victim at the local ER. Holes, bare spots, yellow or brown patches and large divots can be seen everywhere. More maintenance is required to get the field in tip top shape for next season. Artificial grass requires none of this. It takes a beating, looking as fresh and green as the day it was installed. Many California schools install artificial grass fields for this reason alone.
Natural fields require expensive fertilizers, pesticides, lots of water and need to be mowed. Artificial grass fields never need any of these things. Once the turf product is installed, it is ready for use. The rain keeps dust and debris clear from the surface. This allows athletic departments to keep a more consistent play schedule. No maintenance or prep is needed after a hard rain, or long periods with no rain. Players simply show up ready to compete!
Artificial grass used to be a tough sell. “Astro-Turf” made popular by the Houston Astrodome install, was harsh. Players would get rug burn because the product was so similar to carpet fiber. The tough nature of the product also contributed to lower extremity injuries. What a difference a couple of decades makes. Industry improvements now make artificial grass safer than playing on traditional fields, especially when turf cleats are used. The reason? Better padding. Older products had little to no padding, and what was used was inferior at best. Modern products are padded so well, and textured so precise, many people can’t tell the difference.
Sports leagues routinely rent fields from area schools to conduct their tournaments. However, many schools stopped renting their fields out. It was too risky. Renting a field for a weekend tournament might overuse the field, wearing it out for their own activities and events.” No” is still a popular answer when organizations look to rent from a school with a natural grass field. Those with artificial grass can rent them out as often as need be. There are no worries of overuse or damage. This turns their field from a cost saving investment to a revenue generating machine. It seems you can have your cake and eat it too with artificial grass.
Artificial Grass Fields: Saving Money and Fostering Community
Keep your eyes peeled and you may notice artificial grass sprouting up at a school near you. With district dollars in a constant choke hold at state and federal levels, school districts are doing everything possible to save money. This means making wise decisions and sound investments. Artificial grass has the potential to make the most impact on a school budget due to long term cost saving advantages.
Many school districts have already made the choice, not without debate. California will soon complete its 3 year $2.9 million study on artificial grass safety. The study features grass with different types of infill, from synthetic to natural fibers (like coconut), to test certain resilient and safety features. This speaks to constant innovation which the industry is known for.
Yet, many California schools have opted not to wait for the study findings to become public before making their decision. The low maintenance and revenue generating aspects win decision makers over as part of the “risk versus reward” $2 million average field installation price tag. In short, California schools recognize a sound investment when they see one.
Switching to artificial grass not only makes sense for the school, it’s an investment for the entire community. Civic and sports groups can now rent the field for activities and events which may not have been possible before. This only strengthens communities and neighborhoods. If your school is thinking of making the switch, remind them why many California schools install artificial grass. Then show them how it can foster a sense of community too. An artificial grass field has the potential to make one of the most positive impacts long term. Questions? Contact us. We can help.