Field Turf, a firm with a Dallas agent, gave the school district the choice of buying the new upgraded type of turf with an 8-year warranty—or replacing the current field with the current type of turf with a warranty which would expire after this playing season. (The school has one year left on the current turf’s 8-year warranty from Field Turf.)
School Supt. Rick Albritton and trustee Mark Skinner both said purchasing the upgraded turf probably wasn’t “the best political decision,” but was the best financial choice.
Albritton explained that if the board replaced the current surface with the same type turf, it could cost $600,000 to $750,000 to replace it after the one year remaining on the warranty ran out.
“The playing surface (on the current turf) is fine, but the grass in it is breaking off at the level of the rubberized surface” due to ultraviolet light, he said. The upgraded turf is less susceptible to ultraviolet rays and would provide a better warranty than replacing the current product for free, he said.
Albritton said that if the upgraded turf works, he believed it would outlast its 8-year warranty. Such turf is already on fields in San Antonio, Dallas, and Amarillo, although “it is early in its life,” he said.
He also said Field Turf had proven its warranty was good.
Gilmer ISD has just finished its seventh football season on the current surface, and “everybody uses that field,” he said. Having a sod field would require much maintenance, and such a turf would be protected for a football game by generally excluding use for other activities, he added.
Albritton said the school had the money to replace the current turf, though not in the current fiscal year’s budget.
The board approved making the purchase by a 6-0 vote after Skinner, who made the motion, said, “It’s not probably the best political decision to make, but financially, it’s a no-brainer.”
Skinner said the school might spend three-quarters of $1 million to replace the field in a few years if the current type of turf was installed under the current warranty, and subsequently broke down.