By Ashley Cichon
On May 15, construction on a synthetic turf field will begin at BHS to improve playing and practicing usage, save money and reduce injury, according to school administration.
Since the addition of the BFAC and fieldhouse, the conditions of the deteriorating fields were visibly noticeable, according to football coach Dennis Piron. The add-on caused the high school to lose four substantial fields, leaving little space for sports teams, marching band, and physical education classes. Many games and practices were canceled because of circumstances due to weather, such as flooding. Teams also had to practice off-site, costing roughly $7,000 for busing and rental fees. In addition to these inconveniences, the rough terrain made injury a likely possibility.
“Having the turf means we will save money by not having to pay transportation, as well as reducing injuries because it’s a true surface,” said David Andrews, the athletic director at Batavia High School. “Also, a sense of pride because the students don’t like to feel like the poor neighbor. We deserve this like every other high school does.”
Although there are a lot of reasons why the high school should get the turf field, there has been a great deal of controversy in regards to where the money is coming from. The estimated $1.1 million construction cost is being split between the booster club and the district. The school board approved of the booster club donating $500,000 over a five-year span while the district will pay for the rest from funds that are accounted for.
“I would like to thank our booster club for the extremely generous donations””, said Dennis Piron, a teacher and 26-year football coach at BHS. “It will benefit our current students and students decades to come.”
Overlooking the money aspect, concerns about crumb rubber have also been an issue. There is speculation that crumb rubber (which is what makes up the infill for synthetic turf fields) can cause lymphoma, a type of cancer. Although this is not scientifically proven, Batavia is taking every precaution to ensure that no students come into contact with the crumb rubber by using Coolplay. Coolplay is a top layer over-crumb rubber that not only prevents exposure to crumb rubber, but is also a good shock absorber and a cool surface.
According to the BHS faculty and staff, there are many opportunities available to students. The school board predicts that with the coming-soon addition of an artificial turf field, the possibilities are endless.
“This benefits all students, not just athletes. And it will even benefit our entire community because they will have access to it during the summer,” Andrews said. “The usage is endless for our community.”