Gilmer Schools replaces turf on Pettit Field

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – Originally discussed last year with the end zones appearing to fade and returning to the topic in February 2022, the BOE has been looking to replace the turf on the football field.

Not completely satisfied with the original turf, but also being in the later years of the field’s 10-year lifespan, the BOE began looking at possibly a discounted replacement option. Receiving bids from Shaw SportsTurf, AstroTurf, and FieldTurf, the school system has AstroTurf as the low bidder. Returning later, they held a meeting on the football field in June where they discussed options including further discounting the price of replacement due to considerations on the field and work from AstroTurf on patching the current field. AstroTurf manufactured the field that is currently in use, but SportsTurf originally installed the field in 2016.

With agreements made for a lower price, coming down from AstroTurf’s original bid at $385,000 to the new price of $320,000.

The board will not be replacing the pad under the turf, but will be replacing the field and fill sitting atop it. According to Superintendent Dr. Brian Ridley, considering the 10-year life span of the actual turf carpet, and calculating the average cost of replacing that layer ranging between $460,000 to $500,000, he stated that breakdown would come to $45,000 to $50,000 per year. Ridley went on to state that at the end of the 2022 season, GHS will have had seven full seasons played on their field, three years early of the scheduled replacement.

Dr. Ridley stated, “The AstroTurf proposal is roughly $140,000 to $165,000 off the normal price of replacement. And divided across those three years, that brings the excess cost of early replacement to zero.”

As the Board of Education officially approved the AstroTurf proposal, the replacement is scheduled to take place on between December 15 and December 31, 2022. Ridley noted that the shorted timeframe comes as the won’t be replacing or working on the pad or under the field, instead they will be cutting up the turf carpet at the seams, rolling it up and laying down the new turf.

Boardmember Joe Pflueger took the opportunity to ask the Superintendent if he was absolutely sure if this was the right product. To which, Dr. Ridley assured the board that, through his own research and through discussions with other schools and their superintendents, AstroTurf is the right product. He also addressed that they are offering considerations as the board wasn’t completely happy with the previous product. Ridley stated, “They’re treating us right.”

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