Several Westmoreland County school districts replacing artificial turf |
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Joe Napsha

The turf’s up at four Westmoreland County school districts — Franklin Regional, Greensburg Salem, Norwin and Penn-Trafford — and being installed at Jeannette.

Shaw Sports Turf of Calhoun, Ga., has removed artificial turf from stadiums at Norwin, Greensburg Salem and Penn-Trafford and will have the fields ready by the time teams begin practicing in August, school officials said.

The turf, which was cut up and rolled into bundles, will be recycled at Playing Surface Solutions in Meadville, said Ray Battistel, a Western Pennsylvania representative for Shaw Sports.

Norwin will spend $587,000 for the project — $486,000 to replace the turf at Knight Stadium and about $101,000 to install artificial turf on the infield of the girls softball field.

Brandon Rapp, Norwin’s athletic director, told the school board in April the turf was unsafe and if not replaced, the football, field hockey, soccer and lacrosse teams would be unable to play at home. The field also is used by the school’s physical education classes.

Norwin replaced the turf about eight years ago, but the wear and tear on the artificial turf had created problems, Rapp said.

Three board members opposed spending money on the field until the district learned how much it would cost to make necessary repairs to the high school swimming pool. That cost has yet to be determined.

The turf at Greensburg Salem’s Offutt Field was used for 12 years. Its normal lifespan is 10 years, said Mike Burrell, Greensburg Salem’s athletic director.

“It was time for it to be replaced. We got our money’s worth, plus two,” Burrell said.

The turf replacement under way at Offutt Field will cost about $315,522, according to James Meyer, Greensburg Salem business manager.

It will be paid in part with a $150,000 grant from the Pittsburgh Steelers through the NFL Foundation’s Grassroots Program. The remainder will come from the district’s capital fund.

Greensburg Salem anticipates the turf will be laid down in July and the field will be available for use by Aug. 1.

Franklin Regional will pay $1.2 million to resurface the football field and track as part of an overall $1.78 million capital improvements plan. It has not been replaced since 2009.

The turf at Penn-Trafford’s Warriors Stadium will be replaced at a cost of $433,290.

While the turf was nine years old and could have made it through another school year, Scott Inglese, assistant superintendent, said Penn-Trafford received a discount from Shaw because Norwin and Jeannette were installing new turf. It made it cost-effective for Penn Trafford to replace the turf this year.

Jeannette opted for artificial turf at McKee Stadium because the grass field was “proving to be unreliable for stability and had become rutted and pitted,” Superintendent Matthew Jones said.

“The surface was still nearly unplayable by the end of the season for most sports,” even when the school district limited the use of the grass field and rented fields at other locations, Jones said.

The district’s athletic trainer from Excela Health in Greensburg determined most injuries on the field during the past few years were “of a variety consistent with an unstable playing surface,” Jones said.

Costs played a factor in opting to pay $728,000 for the artificial turf, Jones said. Jeannette, Norwin and Penn-Trafford were able to save more than $40,000 on the project because of all three districts using Shaw Sports Turf, Jones said.

Jeannette was paying about $40,000 annually to maintain a natural surface that needed to be re-sodded for use this fall, Jones said.

“We can create greater facility access for our Jeannette community youth clubs and organizations such as midget football and youth soccer” with the artificial turf field and resurfaced track, Jones said.

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