• Drake Talks Notes – The Fields 10.27.16

    Chad Stuart opened the meeting by reviewing the process from the three Drake Talks last school year on the issue. EPA has yet to provide the report on the crumb rubber. The district will be making a decision on the type of turf that will be used to replace the football field in the summer of 2017.

    David O’Connor, head of maintenance and operations - went over the options for synthetic turf. He provided physical examples of the options and also discussed pricing. He is not for or against any of the products. Just trying to present the options and pricing to the board of trustees and in early January.

    Natural cork does have some issues. It can float away with rising water. It sticks on shoes.

    Temperature on crumb rubber is between 20%-30% warmer.

    Mary Boston, PE teacher -Teaches on the crumb rubber. Brings up headaches and sinus issues since the field was put in. Does not bring her students on the field now.

    Barton Clark, science teacher - reports that football players have burned their hands because of the temperature.

    Sierra Salin, community member- with the cost of the field, we will have lawsuits.

    Can we put it in the Drake Direct so more parents know the issues?

    Rick Miles, student -there will be law suits from blown out knees and ankles from the divots in natural turf if we went that way.

    Sue Fox, teacher- there are micro pellets that are seen in our drains. That will go in the ocean. There can be environmental lawsuits. It ruins the creeks, adds to flooding, goes into the ocean and possibly food. Recommend natural grass. The company lied to us last time about the health risks, etc. We will have environmental lawsuits down the line.

    Parent- are we able to maintain a natural field at well maintained level. David O’Connor said that we cannot. We don’t use pesticides and cannot maintain.

    Barton- rolled ankles are a real issue. That comes up when fields are not maintained. Never heard an athlete say they really want to play on a synthetic field – they just want to play on a well maintained field. When I come on the weekends with the little league teams and clubs, it is clear we value sports. At what degree does this campus need to host all of this. To what degree is it our responsibility to receive all of these club teams. I recognize there are not many fields. This is a community issue at the county level. I disagree on the cost, I don’t see how we can’t afford to maintain natural grass when it cost that much to build the fields. I would think that tax payers would through down tax money to maintain.

    David O – I have been in many meetings where the community thinks these are community fields. We do not charge much to rent and do not make too much money on it. Some of the community feel that they have the rights to rent and use the fields for kids. Were I came from in the past, the facility was closed to the public at all times. To make it work, we would have to close down the fields for several months and then we need to close the campus. I don’t know if can realistically do it.

    Rick Miles – we can’t afford to maintain it. It is tough to keep kids off when the field is closed. It is not just paying people to mow the lawn. I agree we need more fields though.

    Barton – Why can’t the district purchase land, like the one in Fairfax, to build a bunch of natural grass fields to rotate our teams through there and maintain.

    David O – that’s a community issue. We are in the school right now to focus on the kids and the current.

    Barton – yes, these are long term solutions.

    Sierra Salin – We are in an era of cell phones. The fields used to not be used in the winter in the past. Can we re-do the fields and put trenches where is seeps through and drain better?

    David O – it does go through. It does peculate. There is no respiration though.

    Sierra – glad to hear that. I was under the impression that there was a membrane and it went directly into the creek. I am glad to hear that.

    Parent – am a civil engineer but has never worked with fields. Would think that if a natural grass field is designed directly that it would take more ware and tare.

    Barton – given the limited dimensions of the conversation, I think the sand and cork would be a good compromise. In the long run, I think we need to look at all the issues. If it is just playable hours, then yes synthetic is the answer. Flood control is a big issue. I think we need to not just look at the drake campus, but also flood control and micro fibers. We should look at solutions. I would like to see that, whatever compromise there is, that all areas are looked at. I believe that natural grass is the answer. We then should compromise and shut down the field at times and not rent it to outside groups. I understand that these take place in a long period of time. This should be in the part of the conversation so we can educate our community. We need tell people the issues and invite people to participate. Is cost the only thing that matters.

    Mary Buchanan, science teacher at Drake - has there been a deep look into cost to go back to natural grass.

    David O – it would cost millions to prepare it to go back to natural grass. It would also cost a lot to maintain it.

    Cork is more of a challenge to maintain. But, I would recommend it because it seems to be the right thing.

    Mary Buchanan – is natural grass off the table?

    David O – I would probably say that. The cost is there and the district needs to also focus on enrollment growth. Currently, the softball field is tough to maintain and it is natural. We have a lot of issues on that field.

    Parent – is there any expectation that the EPA report will come out with a report soon?

    David O – I believe it will be soon.

    Rick – cork without a shock pad is worse on joints? How is it in comparison to the crumb rubber?

    David O – it is within the acceptable limits.

    David O – cork is not as hot as rubber. We also can be watering down the field, but then that’s using water.

    Mary B – we could catch the extra water somewhere.

    Barton – the district should have some document that explains why we are doing what we are, like why are we using the water.

    Rick – in terms of field temp, we often talk about burns. I have done bear crawls on 100 degree days and, while it is hot, I have not close to burned.

    Mary B – I have personally seen it.

    Parent – why do we need to remove and redo the field?

    David – the gmax testing shows if the field is safe or not to play on. The field is 13 years old and some of the points are getting close to not passing safety criteria. We will be replacing the entire grass mat and infill. Replacing everything.

    Rick – lots of injuries on natural grass. If well maintained, we would have to give up a lot of time that we get to play on the fields.

    Parent – there are far more adults and kids playing year round. There would have to be more fields. The reason I came is that my daughter is a goalie and there is more risks with goalies. Assuming we are moving to the cork, does that remove that piece of the discussion. Also, what about Red Hill?

    David O – no toxicity from cork. We have a replacement schedule for all the fields. I think this would be precedent. Assuming no new technology, comes out, I would assume they would also be replaced with cork. We are all hoping this is the answer. But time will tell. We only have three years of data on how this will last. Field warranties are 8 years, but we can get 10-13 years. Don’t know if we will get 10 years on the cork.