This is a rendition of what North Union’s football field would look like with turf. (Photo submitted)
The Outdoor Facilities Subcommittee of the North Union Local School District is considering replacing the grass football field at NU High School with turf.
The subcommittee, which consists of board president Brian Davis, CFO-treasurer Scott Maruniak, athletic director Nick Hajjar and superintendent Richard Baird as well as staff and community members, has been meeting to discuss “investing in our fields,” Baird said.
Proposals for outdoor facilities include an improved sprinkler system, another playing field and a turf football field.
“We’re in the initial stages of planning for green space,” Baird said.
The turf football field would be open to the entire school for usage, from the future girls varsity soccer team to physical education classes.
Baird said the subcommittee’s “first thought is to benefit as many students” as possible.
He added the cost of the turf has yet to be determined.
If the board of education approves the turf, funding could come from a number of sources, including “a combination of funds currently available and long-term financing solutions,” Maruniak said.
During the November school board meeting, a representative of Maumee Bay Turf Center gave a preliminary presentation about American-made, synthetic turf produced from 100% C-8 Resin.
The Ohio-based company, owned by Brad Morrison, has installed turf fields at London, Northmor, Olentangy and Olentangy Orange high schools as well as Worthington Christian School.
Mark Armstrong, who conducts regional sales for Maumee Bay, spoke about the benefits of turf versus grass.
Turf should meet the GMAX level between 90-100 for player safety. According to Armstrong’s presentation, “GMAX is the numerical value used to indicate a playing surface’s hardness and therefore the likelihood of player injury upon impact.
“The nice thing about turf is it’s consistent through the entire field,” Armstrong said, adding that a grass field is more likely to vary in hardness levels.
Muddy grass comparatively has a GMAX level of 60. The minimum acceptable GMAX is 80.
“There are many other things you can use a turf field for and some of them you may not think of,” Armstrong said.
He suggested the high school use the turf for the girls soccer team, band practice, baseball and softball practice in the early spring and other events.
“Every kid should benefit from that field, every kid at least in the high school,” Armstrong said. “Again, even if it’s phys ed., definitely use it. Use it as much as you possibly can.”
Maumee Bay specializes in design build.
“We don’t get in the bidding process a whole lot,” Armstrong said.
He also said the company has completed similar projects in 21 days over the summer.
He added that a 30% down payment is required and the entire project could be billed through a purchasing group, such as TIPS or Sourcewell.
“We pride ourselves in not doing change orders once we sign a contract,” Armstrong said. “Once we sign a contract, there are no surprises for you guys.”
Maumee Bay offers an eight-year warranty on turf and a 12-year warranty on the base.
Maumee Bay’s turf is manufactured by Turf Nation in Dalton, Georgia.
Turf Nation makes the turf with 1,152 turf fibers per square-foot with less rubber infill than competitors, Armstrong said.
As for maintenance, a turf field should be groomed every seven days during the season with a GreensGroomer and swept as needed. Armstrong added that maintenance of the turf “has to be a priority” to prolong the life of the field.
Board member Matt Staley asked Armstrong to talk about heat on the turf.
“It can get warm,” Armstrong said. “The NFL has the same issues.”
He added that how much heat the turf retains is based on the type of infill used.
The Outdoor Facilities Subcommittee is expected to continue discussions about the turf field when it meets Wednesday, Feb.16, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. at the North Union Local School District Offices.