As part of the district-wide improvements funded through a bond measure that local voters approved in February 2017, Vancouver Public Schools plans to install artificial turf fields at four of its high schools.
Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay and Skyview high schools each will receive a multipurpose artificial turf field. The new fields will replace existing natural grass fields and will be used for football, soccer, lacrosse, physical education and additional sports. Fort Vancouver’s varsity softball field and Hudson’s Bay’s baseball infield also will receive artificial turf.
The VPS board of directors voted at its Feb. 27 meeting to approve an agreement to install FieldTurf brand artificial turf, which is currently in place at Kiggins Bowl. Despite heavy use over the past 11 years, the product has remained vibrant and safe well past its warranty period.
In addition to longevity of the new fields, the artificial turf will enable greater field use even in adverse weather conditions and eliminate the costs associated with mowing, watering, fertilizing and other maintenance.
District officials reviewed existing research regarding the safety of artificial turf, including studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Department of Health and departments of health in Washington, Connecticut and Massachusetts. To date, none of the more than 90 technical studies conducted since 1990 have concluded there is a health risk to children or adults who use synthetic turf fields that have crumb rubber infill. VPS will continue to monitor the latest findings.
Work on the new turf fields is anticipated to begin in April 2018. The new fields are expected to be completed by August 2018.