Updated July 17, 2020 - 4:08 pm
The Clark County School District is expected to install artificial turf on 29 football fields by the end of the 2020-21 school year.
The school district announced Wednesday a plan to convert the grass fields to turf, with construction staggered in three groups. Construction will begin Aug. 3 for nine schools, Oct. 10 for nine and Dec. 9 for the remaining 11.
The cost is projected to be $45 million, according to a CCSD news release, with the majority of the funding coming through Government Service Tax revenue dedicated for capital projects. The rest will be paid for by the Capital Replacement Fund that accounts for projects not undertaken more than every five years, according to the release.
The district said it hopes to have construction completed in April. When it is, all 34 fields will have new turf. Clark, Rancho and Valley were forced to play away from home last season after their turf fields were deemed unplayable. Those fields have been replaced, as have turf surfaces at Arbor View and Boulder City.
The season is scheduled to start Aug. 14 for some schools, meaning nine teams will lose all their home games and another nine some of them.
“It’s a two-way street. I’m excited about getting a new field. It’s much needed with the condition of our field,” said Foothill coach Vernon Brown, whose school is in the first construction group. “At the same time, it’s not a good thing for our upcoming seniors. They won’t have a chance to play any home games, and things like homecoming and senior night that they’ll remember the rest of their lives won’t come to pass this year.”
Cimarron-Memorial coach Shane Kanie, whose school is included in the second group, said there is no ideal time during the school year to do the work.
“If you do it during the fall, you’ve got football,” he said. “If you do it during the winter, there’s flag football. Then there’s track in the spring. Personally, I think it’s great that they’re going through and turfing the fields. I think it makes it much safer in terms of making sure fields are level and properly maintained.”
The condition of the playing surfaces throughout the valley long has been an issue, particularly as the season progresses and more grass dies. Liberty coach Rich Muraco said an official from Chandler (Arizona) told him the school wouldn’t have agreed to play the Patriots in last year’s opener if he had known the field’s condition.
“We can’t even practice on our field right now,” Coronado coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. said. “It’s just in bad shape. It’s one of those things that we’ve got to make sure to keep kids out of harm’s way. I haven’t seen all the fields in town, but from what I’ve seen and heard, most of them are in similar shape.”