On Monday December 5, 2016 the DeKalb County School Board passed the 2017 - 2022 E-Splost List whereby there was a $14 Million line item for upgrades to the high school football fields to artificial turf.
High School Artificial Turf Installation ($14.54 M)
Under this new initiative, artificial turf will be installed on the football/soccer practice field to enhance the athletic programming at each high school. Artificial turf has lower maintenance requirements and provides our schools and communities much greater use of the fields. This is the first step in a long-term strategic improvement initiative to enhance the athletic facilities (e.g., ball fields, tracks, tennis courts, field lighting, etc.) throughout the District.
Artificial turf installation on the football/soccer practice field at Dunwoody High School is budgeted for $790,000.00.
On Monday December 12, 2016 the Dunwoody City Council will be having a discussion on the possibility to put artificial turf on the new baseball fields in the new park land acquired adjacent to Peachtree Middle School as well as on the Peachtree Football field where the City will be installing new lights and a new field to maximize playing time on the 25 year extended lease for use. The City provided some preliminary talking points regarding initial cost and breakdown on the cost per playable hour. I am a fan of artificial turf if the budget numbers can work.
A couple of days ago, I sent an email to the Dunwoody Dad's group at Dunwoody High as we have had discussions previously on the subject and most were pushing for the artificial turf but there was that one email that resonates with me that said...
"John - My concern is for the safety of the kids. I expect there is a study or two being considered re: the impact on injury rates of artificial turf vs grass for both male and female athletes, and that this is being considered in the decision as well, since the children will be using the fields"
The City memo didn't discuss safety of the product but I did find studies that did state that the materials used were safe and I would have to believe that the flat uniform surface would be safer than heavily used natural field over time.
If you have strong feelings on the subject or want to point out some specific research, please post in the comments.