GREEN  With the cooperation of the weather, the new artificial turf at Green High Bulldog Stadium was completed ahead of schedule and there is a good chance it also will come in slightly under budget.

The $368,000 price to replace the old turf was approved by the Green Board of Education this past spring. The old turf had reached its limits and needed replacement. The original turf had an anticipated life of eight to 10 years and it had reached that limit.

"Artificial turf is no longer a luxury," said Green Local Schools' Director of Operations Wendall Jackson. "With the usage the field gets from football, soccer, band and other sports and activities the need to have a field that is actually useable throughout the year is a requirement. In addition, the safety factor is also very important. Prior to artificial turf, by mid-October the old dirt field would have been basically a muddy mess. Now, that is not a problem, no matter how many activities utilize it."

The field was contracted through Cleveland-based Field Turf with the installation done by VASCO, a local company. These firms had done previous work for Green, installing the track and new tennis courts.

"They are a good partnership for us," said Jackson. "If there is a problem, they can handle it immediately. And we have always been happy with their work.

"Superintendent Jeff Miller, Athletic Director Erich Muzi and I looked at several of their fields, including OSU," Jackson added. "In addition, we also looked at their competitors. We also got input from the coaches and kids on the design and what they were looking for. In the end, we selected Field Turf because of their product, price, and our previous experience with them."

Bob McKever, a Field Turf representative who has been with the company 13 years said the two and a half inch turf Green purchased is the best the company installs.

"We have around 600 fields across the country that we have installed," McKever said. "Usually, we put in between 50-55 fields a year. There around 35 other companies that do the same thing, but we have the largest portion of the market. The field is actually three layers. The base is a washed silica sand atop which is mixture of silica and rubber, with the top layer being the rubber fill by itself. The turf sits in this overall mixture. The school had the option of thinner and less expensive version, but this was chosen for its durability and safety factor."

The turf is laid down in five foot seams and then sewed together. This process took approximately three days. The school salvaged what they could from the old field to cut down on cost and what had to go into landfills.

"The field as configured can drain of 40 inches of water an hour," Jackson said. "In addition, the artificial turf requires less maintenance and saves about $50,000 a year on maintenance."

"Safety was a big factor in selecting this," said Green Local Schools' Director of Communications and Community Relations Julie McMahan. "Parents contacted us about safety and Field Turf answered all the questions that were raised. We also had input from students about the overall design and logo placements and the company worked with us on that. Overall, we were very pleased with the results."

The field is already being used by the football team in its preseason practices. The new field promises to be an important addition to the Bulldog sports complex, with a 10-year life span. The unveiling of the field will be marked at the first home game of the season in September.

"Green really did their homework," said McKever. "They did their research and looked at a variety of products before they made their choice. We are happy to be working with them."