Officials in Dorchester District 2 are hoping to set off a turf war between the district’s three high schools.
Ashley Ridge Athletic Director Bobby Behr on Wednesday asked the school board to bring athletic field maintenance in-house for the three high schools in the district. The board will consider the matter at its July 22 meeting.
Ashley Ridge takes care of its own fields now — football, baseball, softball and soccer — and has won awards from the National Sports Turf Managers Association. The work at Summerville and Fort Dorchester is outsourced at a cost of about $60,000 annually.
“We will have a competition,” Behr said. “Each one of the high schools will be competing for field of the year ... so that they have a drive to make (their fields) look like college fields. If you’ve been to our fields, you can see we take pride in what we’re doing. That’s what we’re trying to instill in each of our high schools.”
Beyond the aesthetics, board member Sam Clark, a former assistant football coach at Summerville, said it is a safety issue.
“Nobody has a better stadium than (Summerville), but everybody’s got better grass,” he said. “(Ashley Ridge’s field) absorbs shock a whole lot better, and there’s less of a chance of athletes being hurt.”
The district would have to spend about $100,000 for additional equipment, which would be kept in a shed at Ashley Ridge, Behr said. Equipment repairs and maintenance would be performed in-house.
Each school’s groundskeeper would oversee the work and there will be no new employees. Students in Ashley Ridge’s turf and lawn management class help at that school, and Behr said he hopes Summerville and Fort Dorchester will eventually add the class to their curriculums.
The district will still have to outsource once a year for verticutting, or removing thatch build-up, on the football, baseball and softball fields at the three schools. Behr said that would cost 2 cents per square foot, or a total of about $8,200 annually.
“It will pay for itself in, I’ve estimated, three years,” Behr said. “At that point, it’s done.”
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or facebook.com/brindge.