February 13, 2023
By Pickerington Online Intern Hope Schmidt
After the school year ends this May, the Pickerington Local School District (PLSD) will remove the grass from both high school stadiums to install artificial turf. This project is estimated to take eight weeks.
The field to be replaced at Pickerington High School Central will be at the new stadium on Opportunity Way.
Contingency plans are in the works in case the fields are not completed in time for fall sports. Those plans have not yet been finalized.
“Turf allows for more usage and utility of the space,” said Rob Weinheimer, PLSD Chief Operating Officer. “On natural fields you need to give the grass time to recover after a football game. That limits the number of activities that can be played on the field.”
The lifespan of turf is 10 years but with diligent maintenance, that may be stretched to 12 years. The project will cost $1,250,000 per stadium with an additional $115,000 allotted each year for maintenance. The funding will come from the district’s general fund. No money from the district’s recently approved bond issue will be used on the project, Weinheimer said. With artificial turf instead of grass, the district estimates that the fields will be used four times as frequently – not just for football but also soccer, lacrosse, physical education, softball and baseball.
“Our baseball and softball fields are natural grass,” Weinheimer said. “When conditions are wet or undesirable to be on the natural ball diamonds our student athletes can practice on the synthetic turf fields. That’s the beauty of synthetic turf, it can be used year-round and without worry of damaging grass.”