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Local News

April 16, 2014

GISD trustees approve replacing track, turf

GREENVILLE — When the Greenville High School football team takes the field in August, they will be marching out onto new turf.

The Greenville Independent School Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to approve the authority to negotiate a contract with Paragon Sports Constructors to replace turf and track at T.A. “Cotton” Ford Stadium at no more than $760,000.

Other companies that bid in the field included AstroTurf, which was the same company that put in the new turf last year in Memorial Stadium at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

According to Bruce Shores, assistant superintendent of GISD, since Paragon was the same company that placed the track and field the first time, they were able to be the lowest bid out of the four companies who bid for the construction.

“They feel very comfortable that they can do it at that price and guarantee us another eight to 10 years,” he said.

Shores said included in the $760,000, is $145,000 for the track, $400,000 for the turf, and also included is a contingency for any extra costs that may incur when the field is replaced.

Also included in the price is the equipment needed to pull up and clean the turf, and for the area between the field goal post and the track to be turf as well.

Shores added they worked with a consultant, Richard McDonald, who walked the field with them and pointed out each flaw and how it needed to be replaced.

The last time the track and turf were replaced was late 2002, which came with an eight-year warranty. 12 years later, Shores said it is past time to replace the aging track and turf.

“Now we’re at the point of we need to replace it for the safety of our students,” he said.

Anne Haynes, president of the GISD Board of Trustees, agreed with Shores that action needed to be taken.

“The field is no longer just unsightly, but it’s also unsafe,” she said.

Since the track and turf are no longer under warranty, and have cracks and holes, Greenville has not been able to host track competitions for more than two years.

Shores said if the board had not approved this, the football team would most likely have gone with an all away game schedule because of the poor condition of the field.

“A lot of the other coaches in the district expressed the same thing, ‘we’ll let y’all come here but we don’t want come back over there,’” he said.

Conditions of the field have deteriorated so badly that Shores said during a soccer game last year, one of the officials walked the field and placed cones around areas he considered to be dangerous.

Don Jefferies, superintendent of GISD, said the district is looking at advertising to help offset the cost of the track and turf.

“We’ve been working on selling some ads on the turf as well that will actually be integrated in the turf itself,” he said, adding they could be incorporated in the corners of the field. 

Jefferies said the board has worked to build up the district’s fund balance up to help cover this, and added due to the safety issues it presents, it is time for it to be replaced.

“I think that for me in particular, you look at the safety issue, we just can’t ignore it,” he said. “It’s time.”

According to Shores, weather-permitting, the new track and turf should be installed and ready for the fall football season.

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