McKeesport Area schools eye new turf

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McKeesport school directors are considering installing new artificial turf at Weigle-Schaffer Memorial Stadium, with an eye to having the work completed by early summer.

The existing turf, installed  in 2002, is 12 years old. It has a warranty life of eight years, officials said. The school board has secured bids for the project from several contractors, with the lowest estimate at $355,110.

The old turf has become a safety issue for students, school board President Patricia Maksin said at the board's March 19 workshop session. 

“It’s like running on a piece of plastic sheeting,” said board member Scott Smith. “The fibers are laying down flat instead of standing up. It’s become a potential hazard for the student body.”

The district hopes to have the turf replaced by early summer, board members said. The new, low-maintenance turf can be used after heavy rainfall.

Mr. Smith, who is a private contractor, said athletes also can control the impact when they fall on an artificial turf better than when they fall on a natural grass field.

Board members have been deliberating for more than a month about the turf. As part of the bid, companies were required to include a grooming machine in the total price to help prolong the life of the turf by up to four years beyond the standard warranty.

“We’ve gotten every drop of life that we can out of that field,” Mr. Smith said.

Clarece Polke: or 412-263-1889. Twitter: @clarepolke.

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