• Drake Talks Notes

    November 19, 2015


    The Fields

    Please Note: These notes have not been edited. Please excuse typos.

    In attendance: 9 parents/staff, 2 students, 4 administrators

    Chad Stuart reviewed what last “Talks” was about. December meeting will involve sum up what we heard.


    Will have a Google survey

    Reviewed norms

    Go to website to see info on Drake Talks “Fields”.

    Last meeting was informational and Q & A.


    ·         Water, run-off and drainage

    ·         Heat and fumes

    ·         Benefits and drawbacks of natural grass

    ·         Concerns about grass - holes and hurt ankles

    ·         Had to shut down the field periodically (grass)


    Coconut husk was not put up on chart. Coconut required watering.

    Parent: rubber gets in mouth, eyes, etc.

    Baton asked about posting letters from parents online.

    That is what we hoped to get from the survey.

    Barton asked to participate in construction of the survey.

    Regarding the coconut husk - also has rice husk.

    Sierra brought in some of the material from the field.

    Barton mentioned it migrates into classrooms.

    Chad Stuart invited people to see the Cool Play (turf) at Tam.

    Mary stated that students couldn’t be here tonight because students are practicing now. Students wanted to share but had to play soccer at Red Hill.

    Parent asked about the Tam field. It is Cool Play on top of crumb rubber.

    Tam has crumb rubber underlay and the top ¼ layer is Cool Play. It is a bit of a barrier and keeps the temperature down.

    Mary explained how students were burned from the heat of the synthetic fields.

    Chad Stuart asked the group today [to] focus on benefits and drawbacks of natural grass.

    Student said that hot turf would burn their hands.

    Mary said some schools water to keep the field cooler, but it causes steam.

    Eventually will have field replacement at baseball but right now it is football.

    Barton said to separate the solution from the problem. Consider the objectives we want to accomplish. Then weigh them. 


    ·         Fields in good condition – nice fields

    ·         Cost of maintenance

    ·         Cost of water

    ·         Maintain natural grass

    ·         To what degree is water used.

    ·         Health risks to students

    Whatever the solution there will be a compromise. What can we live with?

    Regarding water of the natural grass:  these lawns are working lawns. Believes it is a reasonable use of water to water the grasses.

    The fields also serve a larger community. Perhaps the community needs more fields.

    Barton Clark says the PE teachers do not like the fields and use them less.

    Talked about how we are becoming more artificial. Need to consider water and cisterns.

    Questions about longevity of cork fields- David O’Conner talked about the issues of the grass and the wear and tear of the grass lay-out

    Question from the original installation of the fields- do we have any documents of the safety fields on the synthetic fields.  There was a mis-lead- they guaranteed there would not be off-gassing and I was shut down at the meeting.

    -          The companies want to sell their materials.


    Chad reported that the EPA is doing a test on the rubber fields. Before we make a finals decision, we want to wait and see what the outcome of the EPA results.

    Go back 30 years- the tire lobby gave credit to the schools if they would put in the fields they would…..that’s why the EPA has pulled back their safety .

    We have talked about the last meeting- can we talk about this meeting.

    Let’s talk about the grass option.

    Talked about San Rafael and how bad their field is. If we move to grass, it needs to be really nice.

    Grass Option:

    Want to discuss information, benefits, options and drawbacks.

    Wants lots of testing.

    There are lots of reports and files.

    Observation about the water issue- we have grass and we water it…we could get rid of the grass on the campus to water the football field. Many sites are trying to come up with ways to make a natural grass field workable in wet weather. The women soccer players were upset that they had to play on turf and the men had natural.

    There are some nice natural fields. The fields are nice because they are not used.

    Going to speak as an Environmental Science- we have limited the amount of water in our aquifer because we do not have water.  Want to speak to changing the grass to other gardens. We could make things that allow for water drainage. Maintenance and water bill goes to the field. It is almost equitable.

    Thinking long term- the grass fields will take a long time. Many waste-water centers across the state- could use waste water. Down the road, we can use waste water.

    Discussion about the use of waste water.

    David O’Conner- Concerns about  field use.  The issue with natural grass is giving it time when it is not used.  The maintenance also quite high.  Talking about stripping. Wanted to make the comments about considerations.

    This needs to be a larger conversation- we need more fields- could this not be something our community handles?

    D. O’Conner- The other concern is to maximize the growth and talking about fertilizer.  This is how the beautiful images….

    Maybe safer on your ankles but not in terms of carcinogenic.

    Shared about the short season and just moved to winter. Grass fields are very dangerous in the hard rain to keep them safe. They can be safe but it takes a lot of work.

    We are making the world safe for us 24/7.  Maybe we need to work with the planet to make this  work. Cover everything….plastic and pavement. Malls everywhere.

    Fields are used 7 days a week. We have not seen the type of rain we are supposed to have.  Aerosol paint, lawn mower, water….there are environmental issues here too.  We are very environmental, but this field makes sense for this need. Many of our fields in the area are very rough.

    Specifically athletics- we have grown a lot since the fields were grass. We have three baseball games, lacrosse…we have many more games and teams.  This is not going to get any easier but harder…How do we consider the opportunities of the athletics.

    Lesson for our children- we are placing a greater importance at any time than the environment. What is the message for the kids. What are our priorities?

    Careful about the word “safe”.  There is nothing that is proven safe or unsafe. I do not know that we cannot call these fields “safe”.

    As a family, we have decided not to play on artificial fields. My daughter will play on natural grass. If their team moves to a synthetic fields, they will not play. If they come here they will not play I will get a medical waiver.

    Parent , taxpayer. I want to say that if we put in a field and force our kids to play on it for PE- the school district would be liability. I believe in sports. We are an educational institution first.  Safety around cancer is way more important than ankles.

    My children were in the pool. The fields we have are just toxic. Can’t say that athletics is great and put kids on the toxic fields. How can we as a community say we are doing the right thing and then put them on toxic fields.  The evidence is coming out so against it.

    Someone who runs a youth sports program- 10 years ago without fields- we could not have games in Feb or March. Weekends only, from a playing standpoint only, natural fields don’t work. With the natural fields, you cannot run 6 soccer teams.

    Wrap-up: Final Drake Talks on Dec. 10. This will be our final synthesis of this information.