Once track and field season is about to end, construction crews are moving in.
Weber, Fremont and Bonneville high schools will see their grass football fields replaced by artificial turf fields this summer. Construction is expected to be completed in time for the fall sports season.
Roy High opted out of making the switch this summer and will re-visit the issue next year, according to Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay and Roy athletic director Mike Puzey.
The base cost of each field is expected to be $750,000, Findlay said, with that money coming from the school district’s capital improvements budget.
The total cost can vary per school depending on enhancements (such as a custom coloring scheme in the end zones). If schools want extra bells and whistles with the field, they’ll have to foot that bill themselves.
Weber and Fremont are expected to break ground on their artificial turf fields in the first week of May, with Bonneville starting work on its field around the middle of May. The work encompasses just the fields and not the track that encircles each field.
According to Findlay and WSD secondary supervisor Bill Grilz, the impetus for the change to artificial turf came when the UHSAA announced lacrosse as an officially sanctioned sport.
Lacrosse creates a lot of wear and tear on grass fields, so there became a need for schools to have durable fields to support football, lacrosse and soccer (though some soccer teams will still opt to play home games on grass fields).
The district follows a trend of schools nationwide that are switching to artificial surfaces.
Six of the nine high schools in Davis School District — Layton, Davis, Clearfield, Farmington, Viewmont and Woods Cross — currently have artificial fields, with Northridge High also starting field replacement the first week of May. Syracuse and Bountiful are expected to get artificial fields installed in the near future.
That will leave Roy, Syracuse, Bountiful, Box Elder, Bear River, Morgan and Layton Christian as remaining Northern Utah schools with grass football fields come this fall.