CCSD considering dropping grass fields for turf fields

LAS VEGAS - The Clark County School District's Bonding Committee heard a presentation Thursday that possibly could have the district converting the school football fields to artificial turf.

The plan is very preliminary, but CCSD officials say they would see some benefit from changing the traditional grass fields to turf.  However, it would be a big undertaking because the district has 50 schools.

Artificial turf is already a popular option in parks around the valley, and five high schools, including Clark High School, already have fake fields.

"When you have cleats on, and if you're playing football, you can juke a lot better with cleats on, said Michael Bonner, Jr., future football player.

According to the Clark County School District, there are numerous benefits to turf fields.
"They use substantially less water, but the thing is, you get more utility out of those fields," said Blake Cumbers, associate superintendent of the CCSD Bonding Committee.

CCSD officials say the district could save over $17,000 a year per field in watering expenses.  If the district swapped out the rest of its football fields, it would save the district $775,000 annually, according to 8 News NOW's calculations.

"You see all over town, we're being encouraged to reduce our water usage and take out turf, so that's one aspect of it," Cumbers said.

In a time of over a 20-year period, the district calculates it will cost roughly the same to maintain a grass football field as an artificial turf field, and that dollar amount is a little over $1.1 million.

UNLV swapped out the grass for turf both at Sam Boyd Stadium and at the Rebels practice facility.  The move saves the facilities on maintenance and water costs.

Many committee members have expressed concerns about students' health because of the rubber.  It turns out the little pellets are recycled rubber and can be inhaled.

CCSD will conduct more research on the issue during an artificial turf conference in Las Vegas next month.


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