School board talks details of new fields

RANCHO SANTA FE — Soccer fields and what they should be made of was on the minds of the Rancho Santa Fe school board at its Jan. 21 meeting.
“The field is something we could do this summer,” Superintendent Lindy Delaney said.
Tim Ireland, project manager, said decisions need to be made almost immediately if the board wishes to proceed.
“Time is of the essence if you want to start the field this summer,” Ireland said.
Debra Vaughn Cleff of Webb Cleff Architecture gave a presentation to the board first about the choices they had of the different types of soccer fields and then compared the use of artificial turf to natural grass.
Some of the comparisons were about maintenance. For artificial turf, maintenance requires water usage for washing down and for cooling it on a hot day, regular applications of disinfectants and static cling sprays. Natural turf needs to be watered, aerated, fertilized and reseeded. Plus there is regular striping of lines and irrigation repair. In that area, natural turf costs about $12,000 annually as opposed to artificial turf’s $6,000.
Artificial turf needs to be replaced every 10 to 15 years at a cost of $375,000. Natural grass needs mowing, reseeding and aerating.
Common injuries on natural turf are neural and ligament injuries and injuries by debris. On artificial turf players can suffer muscle trauma, turf burn and a condition known as Turf Toe, which occurs when the shoe grips hard on an artificial turf causing it to stick, sending the body forward, bending the toe vigorously.
And while there is nothing documented, Vaughn Cleff said she has heard several times from several sources about the spread of MRSA without proper cleaning of the artificial turf.
Artificial turf looks like real grass year-round while the natural grass degrades by the end of the year and after a heavy rain, artificial turf can be played on within 15 minutes, while it takes a day or more for a natural grass field to dry. Plus 1 percent of the population is allergic to the artificial turf while 30 percent is allergic to grass.
Vaughn Cleff said she based her presentation on studies done by Brigham Young University, Penn State University and the Journal of Science and Medicine.
“I want you to take this home and mull over natural or artificial turf,” Delaney said. “I want you to come back to our Feb. 3 meeting prepared for a discussion over natural or artificial turf.”
The board will probably make the selection at next month’s meeting.
The board was also given three choices for soccer field sizes and how they could be fit onto the campus.
— U-11 size, 45 by 80 yards with a total turf area of 175 by 280 feet.
— U-13 size, 55 by 100 yards with a total turf area of 190 by 340 feet.
— Adult size, 75 by 120 yards, with a total turn area of 265 by 400 feet.
It was already the consensus of the board that the U-13 field would probably do the school well.
This plan expands the existing turf, track and landscaping area and requires a 9-foot retaining wall.
Construction cost with artificial turf is estimated at $1,776,770. Construction cost with natural grass is estimated at $1,281,770.