Back in 2005, the Garretson School District put in one of the premier small school athletic complexes in the state. That facility has served us well, as a point of community pride as we host people from other schools in football, soccer and track. The normal life expectancy of a synthetic turf field and track is normally in the 10-12 year range. This year our facility saw its seventeenth year of use. Over the last few years, the facility has begun to show its age. Over the last year, we have been working on plans to replace the turf and track, update the scoreboard and replace concrete that has broken over time. We also intend to install a sidewalk and permanent visitors’ bleachers on the east side of the field.
We have been working with Infrastructure Design Group to create the plans for the refresh. One challenge that our athletic turf presents is that of drainage. The drainage system that was installed back in 2005 is a Brock underlayment system. Engineers have found that this type of system is more appropriate for warmer climates than the upper midwest freeze / thaw cycle that we experience in SD. A different system will be required in order to replace the synthetic turf, requiring us to remove about a foot and a half of substrate from the field and then using a tile drainage system along with fill that is not susceptible to movement in the freeze/thaw cycle.
Our plan is to go out for bids for the project in January, with the hope that we will be able to start the construction in April to be ready for next fall. We will finance the project through our capital outlay fund, using a combination of spending down the reserve in that fund and capital outlay certificates. After the bids come in, the board will need to determine how much we spend out of our Capital Outlay reserve and how much to finance through certificates.
We are excited to make the improvements to the complex. That facility is one of the best in our conference and in our class, something for our community to be proud of. This refresh will ensure that it continues to be a great place to play football and soccer as well as host track meets and other community events.