BREMERTON — Bremerton School District is moving toward installing an artificial turf field at the high school football stadium sooner than originally planned, according to Patty Glaser, district communications director.
The turf field will be funded through a recently passed capital levy, from which the district will begin receiving funds in spring 2017. Glaser said the anticipated cost will be $1.2 million.
“We are actually moving this up as it was not slated until later in the original levy plan,” Glaser said. “The board decided to move up the project as we have heard from many parents who would like their student to play on the turf field before they leave the high school.”
This is a project the district has been looking at for some time. Glaser said the Bremerton School District is the only district in the area that does not have turf fields.
At a board meeting in October 2015, when the district was considering what to include on its levy proposal, Bremerton High teacher Nate Gillam urged the board to include installing a turf field in the levy.
“We have been playing on a surface the last two to three years that is unsafe,” he said of the football field. “Some of the things that I’ve found in my research are, the number one thing is improved safety. I know it’s a word that’s thrown around a lot these days. Players risk significant injuries on this surface.”
Gillam said at that meeting that with the field as it currently is, they can hold about 20 events on it before it becomes unusable due to the damage the field sustains. That forces teams to travel more to other schools for games and making it impossible for local youth sports organizations to rent the field for summer sporting camps, which would bring revenue to the school district that could offset the cost of installing a turf field.
Furthermore, Gillam pointed out that according to his research, turf fields require about $5,000 of maintenance each year. He said the district was paying about $35,000 a year to maintain the grass field at Memorial Stadium.
“The benefits of turf fields include reduced injuries to players, reduced maintenance, less replanting and less damage to the grounds,” Gillam said. “This allows the grounds to be used year-round by multi-user groups.”
At the Dec. 8 school board meeting, the board of directors approved a recommended bid award for the turf field installation at Memorial Stadium. Bids were opened on July 12.
“Our hope is the project can start immediately after the school year ends in June,” said Glaser.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter with the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.