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Norwin policy aims to limit wear and tear on turf

| Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

In addition to the toll football games and track meets take on the artificial turf at Norwin's Knights Stadium, the field gets heavy use for events ranging from 5K charity races to spring commencement.

To minimize damage to the field's synthetic turf, Norwin officials have drafted a new policy that prohibits a number of activities that can damage the synthetic surface.

“We encourage the public to use the field for all sorts of activities,” said Tom Sturm, school board president. “But the turf has a limited life span and is expensive to replace. This policy is designed to keep the field in pristine condition for as long as we can.”

In 2002, Norwin converted the stadium from natural grass to artificial turf as part of a $1.64 million renovation project.

Sturm noted that before the synthetic turf was installed “the playing surface was hard and had large areas where the grass wouldn't grow any longer.”

In 2010, the district spent more than $527,000 to replace the original synthetic turf with new material. In January, district officials said the track and turf once again is in need of replacement , this time at an estimated cost of $800,000 to $900,000.

To limit damage to the existing turf — and the new one should the school board agree to replace it — the new policy prohibits:

• All beverages except water from being consumed on the field.

• Dogs or other pets — with the exception of service animals, which must be on a leash.

• Glass and metal beverage containers.

• Tent stakes or other sharp objects that can pierce the surface.

• Metal spike shoes.

• Golf practice.

• Grilling.

• All tobacco products.

• Pyrotechnics and fireworks.

• Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, inline skates and strollers.

• Motorized cycles and scooters.

• Jumping pits and mats without permission.

• Unauthorized vehicles.

Additionally, people in wheelchairs are permitted to use only lanes 6, 7 and 8 on the running track.

The new policy also requires residents who want to use parking spaces designated for people with physical disabilities to obtain a photo ID from the district.

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

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