Ames High will become the eleventh CIML school with turf

Any outdoor athlete will emphasize how important field conditions are. They need to be in top shape in order to succeed and perform at the highest level possible. And in a state like Iowa, weather can be extremely unpredictable meaning soggy and muddy playing conditions. And for these reasons the 2009 football season at Ames High will be unlike any before. The decision has been made by athletic director Judge Johnston and the Ames Community School District to switch to artificial turf. There were many reasons that went into this decision. “Turf is much safer than natural grass and is much cheaper to maintain,” Johnston explained. “With the current costs of paint, water, mowing, and pesticides the school district will be saving $30,000-$35,000 every year.” Turf requires very little maintenance. Brushing the turf picks up trash, seeds and rocks. Beginning May 15th the current grass will begin to be removed, moving the last few home soccer games this season to the ISU field. Once the grass is gone, 12” of rock will replace the 12” of dirt that will be removed from the field. A drainage system will then be built into the dirt followed by a process of laser grading. Rug will be sewn on together along with the logo and yard lines being put in. The final step will be the infill consisting of 20% sand and 80% rubber. Most all of the current turf fields contain black rubber fibers, but after many recent tests and studies were done, a new green fiber was created. “The green fibers make the field much cooler in temperature than the black which absorbs sunlight,” Johnston said. “It also looks a lot better in appearance than black rubber. We are one of the first schools in the nation to use this new innovation.” Ames will be the eleventh CIML school that is making this switch to artificial turf. “I think most of the players will tell you how much of a difference there is between grass and turf,” Johnston said. Sprinturf Synthetic Turf Systems will be supplying the actual turf going in, and Iowa Athletic Fields will be installing it. The Kansas City Chiefs, UCLA, Auburn, the University of Pennsylvania and many other teams are currently playing on Sprinturf. “I am a fan of turf,” said junior Aaron Server, a varsity football player. “It seems to be much higher quality compared to others we have played on. It will take some practicing on to get used to, but I’m excited to be getting it.” The completion of the project is set for an August 1st deadline. Many generous donations were given to help fund the project. “It is hard to raise money for projects like this in our economy,” Johnston explained. “People had to believe in this to make it come through. I would like to thank all of the donors and the community support we have received. This is for the students of Ames High and it is great to see something like this being done for them.”