Sure, it’s just dirt and grass, but has been babying its stadium field for years.
The athletic department must limit how many teams play on the field per day, and if it rains, all bets are off. Once, the high school had to move an entire regional soccer tournament to the synthetic fields at nearby due to an onslaught of wet weather—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
All that could change, however, after the District 225 board of education approved a motion to seek bids for a roughly $3.5 million project to install artificial turf fields at Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South.
“It’s going to make a huge difference,” said GBN athletic director John Catalano. “We’re going to be able to alternate fields and we’re going to be able to practice after school pretty much all the time.”
Currently, Glenbrook North only holds games, not practices, on its stadium field. But with a new artificial turf field, the high school should be able to rotate practices, games, and maybe even P.E. classes through the space.
District 225’s board of education voted 5-1 to go ahead with the project at its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 12. Artificial turf would be installed at Glenbrook South this summer, with Glenbrook North to follow in the summer of 2013. In addition to installation of the fields, the project includes irrigation and drainage systems, water detention and replacement of the running tracks, among other costs. Administrators estimate it will cost about $1.75 million per school.
Funding for the fields is planned to come in part from donations and from money the district already has in reserve. Some $900,000 for the total cost will come from the district’s reserve for capital projects, while another $500,000 will come from each school’s building project fund. The district will also use $1.2 million from bonds taken out in 2006 under the federally subsidized Build America program.
The remaining $1 million is projected to come from donations collected the athletic booster club and other groups. Details on that fundraising effort are still being worked out, according to Catalano.
Board member Scott Martin was the only member to vote against the motion; according to Triblocal, Martin said he opposed the fundraising campaign for the fields. He worried that community members wouldn’t donate because the district has proposed to pick up the tab with its own reserves if the community doesn’t meet the mark.
“We have, I think, provided the wrong incentive,” he told Triblocal.
Installment of the artificial turf field at Glenbrook North is postponed until 2013 because of the time it will take to get additional permits for water detention, according to district spokesperson Karen Geddeis. The district is working with the village to install proper drainage, she said, and will expand the current drainage area to the west of the football field. Increasing stormwater capacity in the retention basin that already exists at the high school is one of several projects the village of Northbrook will undertake in the coming years as part of its .
District 225 will begin seeking bids for the artificial turf fields in January, and school board members will vote on the proposals in March, Geddeis said.
Meanwhile, Catalano and other administrators are visiting nearby schools to see their artificial turf fields in person. In the Central Suburban League North conference, many high schools already have artificial turf, including Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Maine South, Niles North and Niles West.
“I think the quality of our practices and the quality of our games will really go up,” Catalano said. “Our coaches are excited—and they’re patiently waiting.”