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Sharyland approves $1.7 million for turf and track

Hellas Construction will replace the turf at both Sharyland ISD football stadiums and the track at Pioneer High School. The contract is for $1,692,650, and the funds will come from the general operating fund. 

Generally, the lifespan of artificial turf is about 10 years. But the high temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley cause the fields to deteriorate faster because of the heat. The track and turf at Dr. Noel Oliveira Stadium at Pioneer is the original track and turf from when the campus opened in 2014. The turf at Richard Thompson Stadium at Sharyland High School is from 2015. 

Unlike the new fields at the Mission CISD football stadiums, Sharyland’s new fields will not include a shock pad. A shock pad is an extra cushioning between the athletes and the cement below, further absorbing impact. But adding a shock pad to both stadiums would increase the cost by $214,000. And if the district includes the engineering fees, the project would be too far over budget. 

Artificial turf fields use a G-max rating system to measure their shock absorbency upon impact, and a lower score means a softer surface. The Synthetic Turf Council deems anything above a 165 rating unsafe because it is too hard, and anything below 80 unsafe because it is too soft. But Hellas said the new turf at Sharyland will have a rating of less than 125 at the time of installation and less than 150 over the life of the eight-year warranty without the shock pad.  

“Both companies, when they came in with their original proposals, told us they’re safe the way they are, we don’t need to add the extra padding,” Executive Director of Facilities/Risk Manager Mark Dougherty said. 

Additionally, the athletic director and football coaches approved the fields without the shock pad, too.  

According to Director of Public Relations Nancy Barboza, the district is working on finalizing the design at both stadiums, and they hope for completion by Aug. 1, depending on the weather.  

FieldTurf also submitted a proposal for the project at a lower cost of $1.62 million. The proposal included a slit-film turf, while the Hellas proposal was for a monofilament turf. The difference between the two artificial grass styles is in the blade itself — the material, thickness and how they stand. 

Trustee Dr. Noel Oliveira said the committee had ample time to discuss and research the differences between the two proposals to make the right decision. 

Recently, NFL players came forward with criticism for slit-film turf. This past season, the NFL Players Association pleaded with the league to remove all slit-turf stating that there is a higher risk of injury to players. Since then, two NFL organizations announced they would remove the slit-film style turf and replace it with a different style.

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