Athletics programs are an important aspect of high school. It’s how students develop competitive skills, form bonds, and pursue professional sports careers.

When something as basic as the playing field hasn’t been maintained for years, enduring damage from play and weather, all of those things are at jeopardy as the games and players aren’t able to perform as well.

We have only half a sports program because we don’t have the facilities to serve our outdoor sports teams. Our students have to practice off-site most of the time. The fiscally responsible thing to do is to cut the outdoor sports,” School Board member John Dryden said.

Since the district sacrificed several practice fields to expand the high school in 2009, the school’s outdoor facilities are limited to the stadium, which is used only for football games, soccer games and track meets because the field is in such poor condition, officials said; four baseball diamonds, which are deteriorating because the football teams practice in their outfields; and a field next to the retention pond that frequently floods, said Assistant Superintendent Tony Inglese.

The Chicago Tribune recently published an article highlighting some of these points.

Natural grass requires an incredible amount of time, money, and attention, so in cases like this it makes sense to replace the natural grass with sports turf. Artificial turf doesn’t require watering, it handles heavy rain well, and it’s more durable than natural grass. On top of that, players enjoy the uniformity of sports turf and facilities have the option of installing recycled turf, which keeps costs down.

Read the full article here.