South Western adding turf field to football stadium
21 July 2017
South Western School District has started construction to replace the high school's natural grass football field with a synthetic turf one, a project that is expected to be completed by the end of August.
The district broke ground on July 6 with a tentative date for completion of Aug. 24, according to South Western Director of School Facilities Nathan Osborne. The football stadium, including its track, will be closed during construction.
The cost of the project is about $900,000, according to Osborne. An alumnus gave $250,000 toward the project, and the remaining $650,000 is coming out of the school's capital reserve fund. A steering committee is asking for money from people and businesses to replenish the fund.
South Western is planning to use the turf field for not only high school football games, but also field hockey, soccer and lacrosse games starting this school year. Those teams' current grass fields will still be used for practices and rec league games.
Osborne said the school began to discuss upgrading to turf in February, because the grass fields could no longer handle the amount of activity required. He added that the school hadn't done a major renovation to the football field in about 10 years.
"Student activity keeps growing and growing and more students use the athletic fields and the grass can only handle so much," Osborne said. "It gets more and more challenging."
While the field's renovation caused Relay For Life of Hanover to be moved from South Western to New Oxford High School, Osborne said no other events are expected to be moved or delayed.
The football team will play on the turf field for the first time against Manheim Township on Sept. 8. The only other YAIAA Division I football team still using a grass field is New Oxford.
The turf field is expected to be first in a number of athletic facility upgrades at South Western over the next few years. Osborne said the school hopes to eventually build another turf athletic field, so that teams will be able to practice on the surface too.