Turf replacement

Teton County School District No. 1 has approved a contract to replace all three synthetic turf fields, which have outlived the industry standard.

Jackson Hole athletes are getting new turf.

The Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees approved a contract with manufacturer Field Turf to replace the two soccer fields near Jackson Hole High School and the William T. McIntosh Stadium field. The final cost will come in just under $1.5 million.

The district also plans to replace the track in the stadium at the same time, a $250,000 expense it will cover from the major maintenance fund.

The Teton County Recreation District plans to cover the field replacement costs through the tax it levies on Teton County property owners.

According to industry standards, turf fields have a lifespan of about 10 years, but the soccer fields were installed in 2006 and the football field in 2008. Over time, the rubber infill is moved around and the artificial grass blades are degraded, so the fields become more dangerous as they lose their ability to cushion falls.

Trustees have generally been amenable over the past couple of years to the idea of replacing the fields, though they have balked at the price and the particulars of paying for the new turf. Community activities constitute roughly 75% of the fields’ use, so trustees have several times discussed whether partners like the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department should pay more to cover the costs.

Using data from 2019, in which the two soccer fields were used for a total of 1,353 hours, and the $921,800 replacement cost for the soccer fields, the per-hour cost over the 10-year projected lifetime of the fields will be about $68. Some board members say partnerships with community organizations don’t cover the true cost of the fields.

“I don’t think Parks and Rec is charging that,” Trustee Kate Mead said. “And certainly they’re not contributing that to the school district to pay for replacements.”

The new fields will have lines for football and soccer. Representatives from Jackson Hole Lacrosse lobbied the board to include lines for lacrosse, which the club currently has to pay to temporarily add to the field for each tournament. Permanent lines would add to the project cost, and trustees did not take the step of adding them to the contract.

Construction must start by June 1, Facilities Manager Deanna Harger told the board, so that it can be finished by the time fall sports begin. The contract stipulates that the stadium field be completed by Aug. 13 and the soccer fields by Sept. 30.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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