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Western School District wants to replace 50-year-old grass field with new turf

Posted at 9:39 AM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 09:39:10-05

PARMA, Mich. — Western School District Athletic Director Scott Farley has hit the ground running in his first few months on job.

“This really is the first major, major deal that we’re getting into,” he said.

He’s taking on his first big project by getting a new field that he says will be multi-purpose and flexible.

“One that will be able to be used really 12 months out of the year by virtually every athlete, every athletic program here at the high school, the marching band and the community youth programs,” Farley said. “A lot of times with a grass field you’re telling your P.E. teachers not to use the field because we need it to heal and grow, and now, it can be used during the school day, during the summer and really an unlimited amount of use.”

But, it’s not going to come cheap. The project will be about $800,000 and they’re looking to raise $250,000. On top of a corporate fundraiser, there’s a field turf drive for those interested in donating to the project with a goal of hitting $50,000.

“This provides an opportunity for families and individuals to contribute lower amounts of money to be a part of the process and to help generate some funds for the project,” Farley said.

Western Schools field
Proposed turf field at Parma Western

“We’re looking to generate $250,000 in seed money. Then the school district, the Board of Education will come up with the remainder of the project either through its fund equity, its building in-site fund or some state borrowing opportunities," Farley said. "It’s important to know we just passed a bond here to build a new elementary school in the spring, and no bond money will be used for this project at all.”

Farley believes there will be added safety by switching from this grass field to field turf.

“This field gets used by three high school teams, two middle school teams, and I couldn’t even tell you how many youth teams on Sundays, so it gets a lot of wear and tear during the fall season,” he said. “There’s not a lot of time for healing.”

According to Farley, the field will be good for 10 to 12 years.

“And if you factor out the cost of maintenance in terms of man hours, pesticides, paint, mowing and all the things that it takes to maintain a field over 10 years, you’re going to recover the $300,000 that it will cost to replace this a second time after the initial installation,” he said. “If we can make that initial first investment of $800,000 into savings over the course of years, it will be recouped in those costs.”

They hope to have the field installed in time for the fall season.

“We can just come out here. The turf field is never really going to be too muddy or anything like that. It can really benefit a lot of athletes to come out here on days where they need to get some work in and just benefit everyone,” junior Ben Parrott said.

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