The Hopewell Valley School Board has approved an expenditure of $845,000 to replace the turf at the high school field using money that will come out of the District’s reserve for capital projects. 

At the meeting, Athletic Director Tripp Becker stated that the turf, from Hellas Construction, a Dallas-based company, would last longer than the current astroturf in place and improve field performance. He said the overall cost over 25 years would be comparable to the current astroturf field.

The current field is 11 years old and was donated by the Hopewell Valley Recreation Foundation. It deteriorated faster than expected, Becker said, primarily because lacrosse, a popular sport in the school district, is particularly rough on turf fields.

“We were a little bit disappointed in what we got out of the astroturf field that we have out there now. We thought it would definitely last [longer],” he said. “The heavy traffic areas were really starting to show the black crumb rubber because of the deterioration of the fiber.”

Becker recommended Hellas Turf because it has stood up better in comparable districts that also see significant lacrosse and soccer play. The turf fiber is more stable because of how it is spun, and that also reduces the splash of rubber that is frequently visible with traditional turf when, say, a soccer player kicks a ball. He spoke to other school districts who have installed it and they highly recommended it.

“It’s a patented technology. It’s relatively new,” he said. “It’s also a lot softer than your field turf. It’s definitely aesthetically more pleasing because it has this lush appearance and looks like grass.”

The turf is expected to last 12 to 14 years. Hellas Turf rests on a shock pad that requires replacing every 25 years, which is included in the initial cost of $845,000. When the turf is replaced, the company charges a reduced $730,000 without the shock pad. 

Becker said the cost of Hellas Turf was comparable to that of an astroturf field over a 25-year cycle, because the latter requires two replacements during that period and Hellas Turf just one. However, he said he expects that field turf will continue to rise in cost, whereas Hellas would lock in the $1.57 million rate for the 25 years to follow.

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