The North Kitsap School district will be re-turfing the fields at the North Kitsap High School athletic field and Strawberry Field, a project which is expected to cost $1,068,200.
The turf fields first went in at the home of the Vikings in 2007 and have reached the point at which turf replacement is expected. NKSD described the condition of the fields as having the appearance of a “bad comb-over.” The turf substrate has been intermittently settling, which means, despite being mostly flat, little peaks and valleys are beginning to form, which present potential safety hazards.
The original turf went in as part of an interlocal agreement with the City of Poulsbo, Kitsap County, and the Kitsap County Public Facilities District (KPFD). At the time, the public facilities district agreed to fund the original installation of turf fields at NKHS stadium and Strawberry Field as long as NKSD set aside $60,000 a year for a 10-year period to cover the eventual maintenance costs and the cost to re-turf the field. As of May 2018, a total of $600,000 has been placed into the district’s Capital Projects Fund, which will go towards paying for the turf, with the remaining cost of the project set to be paid through a 2018 capital levy.
The turf at NKHS Stadium is set to be replaced this summer, with the turf at Strawberry Field going in summer 2021. The new turf is manufactured to last longer, roughly 15 years, and reduce maintenance and grooming costs.
The district has tapped AstroTurf for the design and build of the project.
The cost to re-turf the athletic fields comes shortly after the district felt the sting of a $3 million budget deficit, prompting budget and staffing cuts. When asked how the district justifies such an expense, NKSD Communications and Community Relations Coordinator Jenn Markaryan pointed to the fact that different district operations are funded through various dedicated funding sources.
“Staffing is funded by the general fund. Capital improvements are funded by the capital fund. The capital fund revenue is primarily from the capital levy. Revenues for capital [projects] cannot be used to fund salaries or other general-purpose expenditures,” Markaryan said.