The Estacada School Board will explore the possibility of installing a turf field inside Buzz Randall Stadium.
During a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 10, board members directed Superintendent Ryan Carpenter to find hard costs of replacing the grass field with turf after it was deemed unplayable by OSAA for the Friday, Nov. 12, quarterfinal football game.
"Unfortunately at this point, we're at a spot where (the quality of the field) is drastically and negatively impacting the experiences of kids who are participating in co-curricular activities," Carpenter said, noting that five athletic games have had to be removed from the Estacada field in the past three years. "I've got to tell you how devastating it is from a community perspective when we have a group of kids who really have gone through our youth athletic programs and have dreams and have made goals to have success on Estacada's athletics facilities, ultimately to be told that our playing surface is unsafe."
During the Nov. 10 meeting, Carpenter deemed Buzz Randall Stadium "a major emergency safety concern" … "we are not able to provide these opportunities for the kids coming through our programs both now and in the future."
School board members also watched video testimonies from student athletes, who noted that playing on the field often feels unsafe and outdoor sports practices sometimes need to be held indoors, particularly during the late fall season.
Carpenter noted that one of the main pillars of the Estacada School District's strategic plan is focused on up-to-date buildings and facilities. Within that pillar, one of the strategies is "to upgrade facilities to ensure students and community members have access to quality and up-to-date facilities that support learning and strong partnerships."
Estacada School District Operations Director Mike Waer noted that Buzz Randall Stadium is used for around 10 hours each week, while a turf field could be used for 60 hours each week.
Along with providing additional usable space for the Estacada School District's sports teams, a turf facility could lead to additional revenue for the district from hosting youth and club athletic tournaments.
In addition to seeing numbers of the cost of a turf field at next month's meeting, school board members expressed interest in collaborating with community members for in-kind donations.
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