Im gonna preference this by saying I am not a coach and not an educator.  My wife however is an administrator in our local school district and gain a lot of knowledge on school and athletics operations from her...

 

While not directly related to your answer our HS installed turf on our football field about 5 years.  The total cost for project was right about $1M.  I did a quick google and it appears that the cost to turn an infield is somewhere around $300,000+.  With estimates of about $750,000+ for an entire field.  Based on what we payed for the football field these estimates seem about right. 

 

I can say putting turf on the football fields was one of the best decisions our school district made.  They can now be used for football games, soccer games, lacrosse games, practices and by the gym classes.  In the past the football fields were reserved for football and soccer games.

Coach_Sampson,

 

I can’t answer your question, but i hope you’ll indulge me and answer a couple of mine.

 

I see you’re in St. Louis so I know weather will be an issue for you, but unless everyone you play also installs turf, having it won’t do a lot of good as far as playing games as scheduled. So I’m ASSUMING the reason has something to do with maintenance.

 

Is the school going to be paying or will it be something like a booster club or donations.

Stats... like Crash Davis, I'm not a big fan of turf, and I think that the health concerns about it are starting to get a little traction.  However, I don't get your point:  if half your games are home doesn't having an all-weather field help you get in 50% of your games as scheduled?

 

In our league one of the 8 schools, a private school, has turf, and that field is ready to go after any amount of rain, so it has helped them enormously getting their games in.  (or at least it did before The Drought)  Often away games will be played there too -- if the opponent's field is too wet, they'll agree to switch venues to get the game in and swap fields again later on, if possible.

Originally Posted by JCG:

Stats... like Crash Davis, I'm not a big fan of turf, and I think that the health concerns about it are starting to get a little traction.  However, I don't get your point:  if half your games are home doesn't having an all-weather field help you get in 50% of your games as scheduled?

 

I wasn’t trying to say it wouldn’t help, but that as long as all the other teams are subject to the weather, it wouldn’t help as much as one might believe. I’ll try an example. Let’s say you have 30 games scheduled. Realistically, not all of them are going to be wiped out because of weather, so let’s say a third of the games (10) are affected. If the split is even, you’ll get in 5 games you otherwise wouldn’t have, but will still have to make up 5 of the games. I don’t know what your schedule is, but unless it’s normal to have 3-4 games scheduled every week, I don’t see gaining that advantage as that big a deal. Remember, I’m out here in the land of fruits and nuts so I have a hard time grasping the difficulties of dealing with weather.

 

You can't know the cost until someone has checked out the underlying soil conditions and figured out how much it will cost to remedy it.  i.e. at my son's high school the cost of fixing the soil conditions and putting in better drainage was more then the cost of the field turf installation.

Originally Posted by Stats4Gnats:

Originally Posted by JCG:

Stats... like Crash Davis, I'm not a big fan of turf, and I think that the health concerns about it are starting to get a little traction.  However, I don't get your point:  if half your games are home doesn't having an all-weather field help you get in 50% of your games as scheduled?

 

I wasn’t trying to say it wouldn’t help, but that as long as all the other teams are subject to the weather, it wouldn’t help as much as one might believe. I’ll try an example. Let’s say you have 30 games scheduled. Realistically, not all of them are going to be wiped out because of weather, so let’s say a third of the games (10) are affected. If the split is even, you’ll get in 5 games you otherwise wouldn’t have, but will still have to make up 5 of the games. I don’t know what your schedule is, but unless it’s normal to have 3-4 games scheduled every week, I don’t see gaining that advantage as that big a deal. Remember, I’m out here in the land of fruits and nuts so I have a hard time grasping the difficulties of dealing with weather.

 

It helps a lot.  You could get all 10 games in.  You just use the turf field.  Up north the turf fields are heavily used in March and early April.  And with a short season, we have 4-5 games a week.  So weather issues completely screw it up. 

Turf doesn't help just for games. It helps for practice which is a daily event leading into the season. My son's high school had to hold tryouts in the gym and parking lot one year due to heavy rain on top of a late winter. They started their season with one practice on the field. With a turf field they would have been on it from day one of tryouts.

Originally Posted by Stats4Gnats:

Coach_Sampson,

 

I can’t answer your question, but i hope you’ll indulge me and answer a couple of mine.

 

I see you’re in St. Louis so I know weather will be an issue for you, but unless everyone you play also installs turf, having it won’t do a lot of good as far as playing games as scheduled. So I’m ASSUMING the reason has something to do with maintenance.

 

Is the school going to be paying or will it be something like a booster club or donations.

It is just at the beginning stages... We don't have a booster club for baseball but have a "Parents Association" for all sports. The last thing they gave us was 2 bats when BBCOR rules came out. 

 

As for games we had 3 games moved from an away game to home game due to field conditions last year. 

 

It is a practice thing for the most part and maintenance as well. So we are in an interesting situation. Before I got to the school, in an attempt to reduce maintenance cost, as well as to reduce rain outs, the school went from an all skin infield to an all grass infield with sliding pits. The issue that this caused was that this field was used by the softball team in the fall as well. So the school decided to cut sliding pits for the softball team... in the baseball center field. So this is an attempt to be able to get practices in late fall for softball and early spring for baseball. As well as get rid of the softball field in center field and allow both teams to share the infield.

 

I'm going to push it as a revenue stream opportunity by renting out field time to local legion, club, and youth baseball and softball teams. As well as possible increase in enrollment for boys and girls that want to play at a top notch facility.   

 

So in reality I have no clue how this is going to get paid for... I was just trying to figure out a number so I could bring it to the administration to even see if it was feasible. 

Coach_Sampson,

 

Obviously your situation is unique, and not in a good way.

 

How do you think having turf will allow both teams to use the same infield?

 

From the way you worded how you’re planning on justifying the cost, I assume this is a private school.

 

I’m curious how the field will hold up under the high traffic of access by renting it out. My 1st thought is that’s going to be more of a headache than its worth, but I don’t know. Having done a lot of field maintenance over the years, I can say that there’s a point at which the additional traffic degrades the facilities to the point where it’s not cost effective. The thing about renting is, the renters don’t have the same pride as the owners do and therefore tend not to treat things very well.

 

Is it at all possible the better answer is what one of our local schools did. Rather than revamp a field that much needed it, they contracted with the locals to use public fields for games, and kept the old field for practices. At the rate they got, it became totally cost ineffective to do the revamp.

 

I wish you well because I know how difficult it is to provide quality facilities.

 

Coach Sampson you're on the right track.  You can make the field multipurpose -- Baseball in spring and softball in fall (or even both during the same season).  And contrary to stat's thoughts, the field will hold up.  In fact, more facilities around us are going to field turf so they can get more use.  The only rule is no metal cleats and no seeds.  Every few years they may need to replace the right hand batters box but that's about it.  I'd get a hold of the providers and let them give you guidance.

 

The only thing is you'll have to sell a lot of brownies to raise the funds.  Good luck.   

From the way you worded how you’re planning on justifying the cost, I assume this is a private school.

 

I don't know why. A majority of the high school football fields in questionable weather parts of the country are turf. In our area high school soccer teams are getting their own turf fields. Baseball would make sense based on how hard it can be to get on the field early in the season.

Originally Posted by Golfman25:

…And contrary to stat's thoughts, the field will hold up.  In fact, more facilities around us are going to field turf so they can get more use….

 

All I said was I’m curious if it won’t become more of a headache than its worth, and that additional traffic degrades the FACILITIES. I wasn’t just thinking about the field, but rather the entire facility. Whenever there are more games at a facility there are many things that have to be done to allow for that increase. If the costs are covered by the charges good on them.

 

Coach_Sampson,

 

I never had any doubt about your ability to do things right. Evidently you’re already renting the place out, so it won’t be anything new. Hopefully whoever does that gets paid a little something for his time.

 

Good luck getting your turf. I hope it lasts forever. 

Im guessing Stats' last statement is sarcasm and cynicism. Turf doesn't last forever. But if a business case can be made for turf having to replace it at some point isn't an issue. Our high school got a deal on turfing the football stadium based on being a sales visit and referal site for the vendor.
Originally Posted by joes87:

 

While not directly related to your answer our HS installed turf on our football field about 5 years.  The total cost for project was right about $1M.  I did a quick google and it appears that the cost to turn an infield is somewhere around $300,000+.  With estimates of about $750,000+ for an entire field.  Based on what we payed for the football field these estimates seem about right. 

 

I would expect that a baseball field would typically be MORE expensive than a football field. Unless that $1M turned into paying for other things within the complex such as the track. A baseball field is often bigger than a baseball, and not just a little bit either.

 

Coach_Sampson has shown a couple pics of some in the St. Louis area. Coach, you may actually call Edwardsville High School and see what they can tell you. Their JV field is turfed on the infield. Also, SIU-Edwardsville has a turf infield and GCS Ballpark is all turf. I think that TR Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, MO will be turf in the next couple of years. O'Fallon, IL also has turf for their baseball field, but I can't remember if it's the whole field or just the infield.

 

My school is currently putting together estimates to turf our baseball field. Our football field already has it, but our baseball field holds water big-time so they are looking at that investment. Last I was told, they were looking around $1.1-1.2M but I don't know if they were adding any other projects to it or not. This is down in Dallas, TX. Quite a few private high schools apparently have turf baseball fields already...

Originally Posted by Bulldog 19:
Originally Posted by joes87:

 

While not directly related to your answer our HS installed turf on our football field about 5 years.  The total cost for project was right about $1M.  I did a quick google and it appears that the cost to turn an infield is somewhere around $300,000+.  With estimates of about $750,000+ for an entire field.  Based on what we payed for the football field these estimates seem about right. 

 

I would expect that a baseball field would typically be MORE expensive than a football field. Unless that $1M turned into paying for other things within the complex such as the track. A baseball field is often bigger than a baseball, and not just a little bit either.

 

Coach_Sampson has shown a couple pics of some in the St. Louis area. Coach, you may actually call Edwardsville High School and see what they can tell you. Their JV field is turfed on the infield. Also, SIU-Edwardsville has a turf infield and GCS Ballpark is all turf. I think that TR Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, MO will be turf in the next couple of years. O'Fallon, IL also has turf for their baseball field, but I can't remember if it's the whole field or just the infield.

 

My school is currently putting together estimates to turf our baseball field. Our football field already has it, but our baseball field holds water big-time so they are looking at that investment. Last I was told, they were looking around $1.1-1.2M but I don't know if they were adding any other projects to it or not. This is down in Dallas, TX. Quite a few private high schools apparently have turf baseball fields already...

I was trying to stay with the high school leve but I know that GCS and Lindenwood University have full turf. I didn't know about the Illinois area schools as we don't really get over there to play a lot. The first field that I had posted is actually a team in our conference. 

 

To get this done will be a long shot to say the least. The athletic facilities are the last thing the school worries about. Heck I can't even get the maintance guy to cut my grass the way I want it done and they will only cut the grass 1 time a week. I am not allowed to use any of the equipment to cut the grass on my own.

If the layout is right the following may allow you to turf the entire field at an affordable price. Northeastern University built a combined football/baseball field. Right and center field are part of the football field. During football season the visiting stands are constructed across the outfield.

 

If you look at it on Google Earth the football stands will not appear. A new center field fence as also been constructed. Northeastern dropped football a couple of years ago.

 

One time a UNC-Wilmington hitter skied a 459 foot fly out to the wall in center when it was the backside of the football field. He was ticked. The next time he turned on a fastball. He hit it over the bullpens behind the left field fence. As he was heading towards first I heard him say, "Catcher that (bleep)er!

Originally Posted by RJM:

If the layout is right the following may allow you to turf the entire field at an affordable price. Northeastern University built a combined football/baseball field. Right and center field are part of the football field. During football season the visiting stands are constructed across the outfield.

 

If you look at it on Google Earth the football stands will not appear. A new center field fence as also been constructed. Northeastern dropped football a couple of years ago.

 

One time a UNC-Wilmington hitter skied a 459 foot fly out to the wall in center when it was the backside of the football field. He was ticked. The next time he turned on a fastball. He hit it over the bullpens behind the left field fence. As he was heading towards first I heard him say, "Catcher that (bleep)er!

That is a great story and I had something similar happen to me when I was playing in High School. I have thought about that idea but it wouldn't work for our school. Football, boys soccer. and softball play in the fall. Baseball and girls soccer play in the spring. 

Originally Posted by Coach_Sampson:

… The athletic facilities are the last thing the school worries about. Heck I can't even get the maintance guy to cut my grass the way I want it done and they will only cut the grass 1 time a week. I am not allowed to use any of the equipment to cut the grass on my own.

 

That’s something that seems to be more the “norm” than the exception, and I’m gonna guess it comes from so many people not understanding that there are major maintenance differences between an athletic field, a park, and the lawn at their home in order to keep them serviceable as opposed to outstanding. Some of it also comes from the people doing the maintenance having a different perspective than those using it.

Stats... the overwhelming feeling from the administration, not the AD, is one of "it is just grass". Up until this year there was no way to water the dirt areas for repair and maintenance without turning on the sprinkler system, and that didn't work most of the time.

I asked for infield mix to help fill in the sliding pits that tend to bowl out because we can't properly maintain them. The AD ordered diamond dry "because it was cheaper" and "dirt is dirt." I also gave them a company that builds mounds and does cut outs and gave him the specifications that I wanted the cuts done (think old turf cut outs). He found another guy who just made uneven squares on the corners and a lopsided oval at second. The same guy used unfiltered fill dirt to build a mound that is 2" too short, full of rocks, and set the rubber not square with home plate.

This field was built in 1999. The fencing, backstops, foul poles, and dugouts haven't been updated or repainted since it was built. As of right now we aren't even allowed to fundraising to help off set costs to repair stuff.

We were awarded the district tournament for the upcoming season. We now need to build a new bullpen because we only have one.

Coach_Sampson,

 

It’s really sad that your story isn’t a rare one. Our district has 41 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 9 high schools, and 5 alternative education schools spread out over about 100 sq miles. The powers to be decided it was more cost effective to have all of the landscaping services done by one shop with a minimum number of workers at some central location. Because of that, it’s literally impossible to get timely “special” services. About 120 miles down the road, there’s a city that decided every school would have its own landscape maintenance staff and equipment, and the difference is stark. The maintenance staffs actually have contests to see who can make their school look the best.

 

If the guys that control the purse strings don’t understand or don’t care that there’s a huge playability difference on an athletic field depending on how it’s maintained, and won’t allow the teams to do it themselves, there’s really no hope. All ya can do is to keep pluggin’ away and hopefully over time you can effect some changes. You have my best wishes for success.

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