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Mt. Lebanon School District, municipality reach deal on turf field's maintenance

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Mt. Lebanon School District will use its equipment to “fluff” the artificial turf field the municipality is installing near the high school, if it meets the turf manufacturer's requirements.

The school board voted, 7-1, on Monday to enter a maintenance agreement with the municipality. Board member Dan Remely opposed the measure, and Scott Goldman was absent.

The district has staff and machinery to go over the high school's artificial turf to loosen the crumb-rubber infill when it gets packed down and stand up the plastic “grass” when it's trampled. The municipal turf's manufacturer will review the district's equipment and procedures to make sure they would be sufficient to maintain the new field's warranty.

Superintendent Timothy Steinhauer said performing the work on the municipality's $1.05 million field, which was approved earlier this month and set for installation in August, would cost the district about $4,300 a year.

That's compared with the $5,700 a year it spends to line, dry and fill the infields of the grass baseball fields on Cedar Boulevard.

The district usually fluffs its turf about once a month, but would do it more often if it's heavily used.

Resident Kimberly Schevtchuk, who is opposed to the turf project, said the school district could be exposing itself to liability for injuries suffered on the municipal turf or for any of the long-term health effects of the crumb-rubber infill on young athletes.

She urged the board to rescind the agreement, but solicitor Thomas Peterson said maintaining the municipal field did not increase the district's exposure to lawsuits.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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