Turf could replace grass baseball fields at five Huntsville City schools

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 7:03 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - You may see some of your children’s baseball fields go from grass to turf in the coming years. Huntsville City Schools leaders are considering a multimillion-dollar proposal to turn five of the high school fields into turf.

Some Huntsville City School (HCS) Board members say turning the fields into turf would cost around $12 million. The HCS Maintenance Department introduced a preliminary turf plan to the school board in its Nov. 9 work session. HCS Board President Ryan Renaud says it would pay for itself in a few years because it is expensive to maintain grass fields.

“We’ve got booster clubs and school programs that are spending tens of thousands of dollars attempting to keep up the maintenance on a grass field where the maintenance on a turf field eliminates a lot of those disparities,” Renaud explained.

School board member Andrea Alvarez says changing grass fields into turf would allow the booster clubs to pay for other needs.

“Alleviate the boosters from having to spend money on that so they can now spend money on other things: busses, travel, other things that they need for their program, new equipment,” Alvarez said.

If the proposal is adopted by the school board, the turf will be installed at five schools: Huntsville High, Grissom, Lee High, Columbia and Mae Jemison.

School leaders believe it could help Huntsville City students play at a higher level.

“Almost every college baseball facility in the country has already converted to a turf field,” Renaud said. “I think aside from a competitive advantage that we’re giving our student-athletes from practicing and playing on grass and going to a regional and state tournament and playing on a turf field. We’ll bring our facilities up to date, which is obviously a step in the right direction and creating a competitive advantage for our student-athletes.”

The Maintenance Department is expected to present a formal proposal to the board at its Nov. 28 meeting.

Renaud says if it is approved, the turf project would be a relatively small part of the school board’s capital improvement plan.

He says the details of the entire improvement plan will be released to the public in two to three months.

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