For many high schools, installing synthetic turf gives their teams a competitive edge. The synthetic turf surface allows them to practice on the field 365 days a year, no matter the weather conditions, and habituates them to playing on a surface material that is quickly becoming the standard material in high school sports. However, installing the synthetic turf in the field can be prohibitively expensive for many high schools.
A high school in Belleville, IL, has taken a novel approach to raising the necessary funds to pay for their new synthetic turf field. The high school has sold ad space on the surface of the field itself to local companies. The field currently has 20 ads displayed in panels in the synthetic turf itself, including a local Chick-Fil-A. Additional funding for the synthetic turf field came from clubs and donations.
The ad panels are currently sold for five-year periods, and when the companies want to remove the ads, all the high school has to do is cut out the turf with the ad display on it and replace it with a synthetic turf that matches the color of the rest of the field, or replace it with a new ad-paneled synthetic turf.
It's a proven effective option of raising money to pay for synthetic turf fields that you may want to propose at your next school board meeting....
The controversy around crumb rubber infill continues as a new in-depth piece in the USA Today was published today surveying the political dispute occurring between school synthetic turf sports field superintendents, environmental agencies, and consumer protection agencies.
On the one hand, the Consumer Product Safety commission is being criticized for publishing a headline in 2008 proclaiming that synthetic turf with crumb rubber infills was "OK to install, OK to play on," despite the fact that the tests they had conducted were not conclusive.
Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency has historically supported the use of crumb rubber infills in synthetic turf fieldsd in their effort to recycle old car tires. Due to recent political pressure, they have stated that the safety of such rubbers is not conclusive.
And on the other hand, schools are reticent to allow their turf fields to be tested for fear of negative publicity and having to pay to have their turf fields replaced, which costs more than $1 million, if the tests prove that the fields are harmful to children.
And on still another hand, the Synthetic Turf Council have touted the obvious benefits of synthetic turf, reduced maintenance costs and water savings, etc.
It seems that the debate around synthetic turf crumb rubber infill will just have to continue until conclusive tests have been completed....