2 schools will get synthetic turf fields

EVERETT — Parents and students who have been lobbying for new synthetic turf fields at Cascade and Jackson high schools are about to get their wish.

The only question is exactly when the projects will get underway. Construction on the new turf fields in the Everett School District mostly likely will occur in the summer of 2014, said Jeff Russell, school board president.

“There is an outside possibility that we could proceed this summer,” he said. A decision on the timing of the projects won’t be made until later in the spring.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Russell said of the new fields. The two new turf fields are expected to cost a total of $4.28 million.

Students and parents at both high schools have been lobbying for the new synthetic turf fields for several years.

“I look forward to seeing the field; I think it’s long overdue,” said Carl Shipley, a Cascade parent who pushed hard for both a new track at the school and the new turf field.

Calls for replacing the current grass fields with turf fields were made after students complained that sloppy field conditions were leading to injuries.

As a freshman, Nathan Elliot, a member of Cascade High School’s football team, broke his ankle and ended up in a cast for six weeks after another football player slipped and fell on top of him.

At Cascade, the project costs are estimated at $1.9 million, which will pay for a new turf football field, field lights, bleachers, a portable sound system and irrigation and drainage.

Two grant applications have been made to help the school district pay for the synthetic turf fields at Cascade, Russell said.

The requests, for a total of $450,000, were made to the NFL Grassroots Program, which helps pay for community football fields and the US Soccer Foundation, he said.

Cascade’s new turf field will go inside its track. The former cinder track was replaced earlier this year with a synthetic surface.

A cinder track at Jackson High School also was replaced.

The turf field at Jackson High School will be installed next to the high school’s track.

The city of Mill Creek has agreed to share in the planning and design costs for the project with the school district, expected to cost $70,000.

At Jackson, the turf field will be used for soccer programs, both at the school and in the community.

Overall, the Jackson project is expected to cost $2.38 million, and will include field lighting, portable aluminum bleachers for 100 per side, a portable sound system, an irrigation and drainage system and a new retaining wall.

Mill Creek decided to share in some of the initial costs of projects because there’s a limited number of lighted, all-weather fields in the region, said Ken Armstrong, city manager. “This provides an opportunity for the school district and residents of Mill Creek to have an option, whether its youth or adults leagues, to get time on an all-weather, lighted field,” he said.

The field also will be used by youth and adult lacrosse teams, Armstrong said.

The school district has had an agreement since 1994 that allows it and the city to work cooperatively on projects.

The current grass fields, which will be used until the new turf fields are installed at both high schools, also have been upgraded. The school district has spent just over $61,000 on improvements that include dethatching, aerating, fertilizing, repairing spongy areas and some regrading and replacing of sod.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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