When FieldTurf USA’s fake grass sports fields quickly fell apart across the region, customers, often local schools, were regularly forced to pay thousands of dollars to “upgrade” to a supposedly sturdier turf material.
Turns out, that newer premium turf is falling apart far sooner than expected, too.
As Voice of San Diego reported in a multi-part investigation in November, customers that spent $400,000 to $900,000 for “the best” turf shelled out another $25,000 to $300,000 just a few years later to replace faulty fields still under warranty with a new turf material that would finally deliver the minimum eight-year longevity and investment promised.
Some of those premium products are already failing.
Torrey Pines High School, for instance, paid more than $433,000 for a new premium turf field – known as FieldTurf Revolution – in 2012. Last fall, FieldTurf inspectors noticed, “The turf fibers were wearing faster than expected,” said Eric Dill, superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, in an email.
Though Dill said the problem “was primarily an aesthetic issue since the infill and base layer were fine,” FieldTurf agreed to replace the school’s nearly 77,350 square foot artificial grass football field in December for free, logos and all, public records show.
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Artificial turf fields were sold as a panacea for the problem of cost in water. What was not stated was that artificial athletic fields are inherently unsafe on numerous grounds:
1. ATFs are really glorified rugs. Rugs retain really bad germs. Athletic Directors at the schools tried and failed, by the way, to stop people from bringing organic material(food) to the fields.
2. These ATFs do not provide cushion for falls during normal athletic activity. When you fall, and you will, on one of these AFTs you will feel it in your bones...badly.3. These ATFs are not made for clear, warm weather over 75f. ATFs do not absorb heat, they reflect it. The results are hot athletic shoes and feet. And, also a hot athletic field, overall.
3. These ATFs save on gardening/maintenance? No. Eventually, the schools need to provide misting and sprinkling devices to "wash away" environmental effluent. The MRSA virus, among many other very dangerous diseases are often harbored in these "glorified rugs.
4. These rugs do not work well in arid, desert, nor mostly southern climes.
5. Cost: 1.5 milion to 2.5 million every ten years. The warranty states 15 or so years. But, by the 5th year, these "rugs" show signs of excessive wear.
Bottom line? These plastic manufacturers have not yet invented a safe "Astro Turf". And, remember, AstroTurf worked...ok... in an air conditioned AstroDome. I believe they have destroyed that place.
High schools thought they could reduce employee costs. What they should have been doing with natural turf fields is required their maintenance personnel to do their jobs.
@John H Borja You are absolutely right on all counts. City Schools is so bankrupt and corrupt that they solve their budget short falls by borrowing, through 600% Bond credit to buy turf carpet rather than pay for the up keep of turf.
Why do TEACHERS continue to promote brain concussion and injury prone NFL style Football as the primary academic sport ?
The city of Encinitas in 2016 installed artificial turf at its Leo Mullen Sports Park. The public brought up the problem of durability before the FieldTurf scandal broke. Plastics have a long history of not holding up well in high-light areas. The public comments were ignored. Now we will see if Leo Mullen has the same "manufacturing problem." The company's excuses sound very familiar.
No surprise here. That's why City Schools is called Sh*tty Schools. Always questionable decisions at the top.