Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dunwoody High to get new artificial turf field & City Council to discuss artificial turf for Peachtree Fields on Monday

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.




Max said...

John, here is an EPA study, and other articles that may help Council and others determine the safety of artificial turf fields. As I see it there are two areas that are studied; the safety of the material itself (recycled tires and plastics), and the safety of play. I recall discussions that artificial turf was less safe when it was first being used.

I think this is an exciting time for Dunwoody sports and encourage Council and Mayor to thoroughly research how we build out these fields.

Compendium of studies discussing safety of the turf material:

Compendium of studies discussing natural vs. artificial turf injuries:

Max said...


I would suggest talking to experienced coaches about their experiences with artificial vs. natural turf to obtain additional anecdotal evidence on the topic.

John Heneghan said...

Thanks Max, I reviewed many of the links to the various technical studies and I guess the topic is continuing to be studied by the academic and scientific communities, therefore, the definitive opinion is still out.

The City has toured numerous facilities and talked to many coaches with most saying that artificial is the way to go if you want to maximize the hours of available play.

If any coaches, athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons or others in the know are reading this discussion please share your thoughts. Thanks

Tom Taylor said...


I coached soccer for 18 seasons as a head coach and have had young athletes play on both. My (unscientific) observations are that my teams had more injuries on artificial than natural turf. Not just ankle and knee injuries, but also scrapes getting infected from bacterial growth in artificial fields that were not well maintained.

Again, not scientific, but hopefully continues the conversation.

MoKi said...

Hi John,

Thank you for all you do to keep the community informed. Although I'm a Dunwoody resident, I do not live in your district, but I sincerely appreciate all your efforts to keep your website going. I'm sure it is not an easy task.

Day to day, I'm a personal injury attorney who specializes in more complex personal injury cases like medical malpractice, product liability, and pharmaceutical and medical device cases. I am exposed to science and research on a daily basis and, although the EPA says there is no definitive proof at this time that crumb rubber causes cancer, it is HIGHLY concerning to me. For the longest time the cigarette industry denied that cigarettes caused cancer, and I believe crumb rubber is of that ilk. I have very serious concerns for the health and safety of our children if crumb rubber is used in the artificial turf. I don't think anyone would want our own children to be used as statistics and guinea pigs for this research.

I think the anecdotal story from NBC Nightly News is compelling and something that the city should seriously consider.

Thank you for all you do.

Moses Kim

Jay said...

I hope these concerns over heat are exaggerated or fictional:

If the fields are unbearable during the hottest times of day, that wouldn't bode well for the supposed 20% increase in usable-hours.

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