Aledo ISD Trustees Vote for Athletic Surface Replacements, Conversions
June 22, 2021
The Aledo ISD Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to convert the existing softball and baseball competition fields to turf and also replace the turf and track surface at Bearcat Stadium and the turf at the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus field.
“This project is about the safety of our children,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn said. “It is also about us providing our students access to facilities and resources that truly give them the best opportunity to be successful.”
The vote was taken approximately a month after the administration and board discussed the project at the regular board meeting on May 18, 2021. The $3.1 million cost for the turf replacement and conversion will come out of the general operating budget and still keep the district’s fund balance at a level required by district policy.
The turf surface at Bearcat Stadium was installed in 2011, and the turf at the DNG freshman field was installed in 2010. With the work beginning immediately, the field and track at Bearcat Stadium and the field at DNG will be completed by the end of August while the baseball and softball field conversions will be completed in mid-December.
“Because of the success of our athletic programs, people have this misconception that we heavily invest in athletics and the truth is the opposite,” Board Secretary Forrest Collins said in May. “We have at times failed to invest in our athletics facilities because of a fear of people saying that we spend all of this money on sports. … It’s time we invest in that.”
A third-party company inspects and tests turf athletic fields in the district each year to monitor safety and performance and determine the need for additional maintenance or life-cycle replacements. A major part of this testing produces G-Max Reports that measure impact attenuation or “shock absorbency” of the field for blunt impacts.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) recommends an average G-Max rating limit of 200, and the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) recommends a G-Max rating limit of 165. The areas tested for 2021 at Bearcat Stadium (167.8 G-Max average) and at the DNG freshman field (194.9 G-Max average) are above or approaching these maximum limits. AISD has G-Max readings taken annually, and the latest numbers prompted the district administration to request the replacement.
The conversion of the existing softball and baseball fields has been discussed and considered for several years due to the limitations of grass fields. For years, inclement weather during softball and baseball season and postseason play have rendered the dirt and grass fields useless for both practice and play. During this very rainy spring, all of the combined 27 playoff games played by the Class 5A state silver medalist Ladycats softball team and the regional finalist Bearcats baseball team were played on turf fields in other locations. The teams were forced to practice at neighboring school districts or reduce the scope of their practices and use the indoor practice facility.