Cherokee and Shawnee High Schools
Summer 2019 Turf Replacement Process – Additional Information
The Lenape Regional High School District Board of Education (“LRHSD”) recently had the synthetic turf fields at Shawnee High School and Cherokee High School evaluated. As a result, all athletic activities on the fields have been suspended until further notice. This will not, however, affect the continued use of the fields for non-athletic events such as graduation and high school and community celebrations.
These two (2) synthetic turf fields, received as donations from community groups, were installed approximately ten (10) years ago as multi-purpose fields, and are primarily used for high school athletic events including football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, band and physical education classes. They also host community athletic events and celebrations.
The fields have been regularly maintained by LRHSD in accordance with the guidelines issued by the manufacturer; and, have been tested yearly for their fitness/playability. Nevertheless, they are exposed to the usage referred to above, as well as the weather, including constant exposure to the sun, all of which cause normal wear and tear over time. As a result of LRHSD’s recent inspections of the fields, which revealed that the turf fibers were torn, laying down and flattened; and, that the surface was uneven and appeared hard in some spots, LRHSD sought the help of professionals to evaluate them in terms of their future playability. The evaluations that were performed included various tests and analyses, and the conclusion is that both fields need to be replaced. The evaluations determined, among other findings, that “the degree of fiber splitting is extraordinary,” and that the fibers were “designed and manufactured in a way that caused inevitable premature deterioration.”
Replacement of the fields will begin after graduation this June, and be completed before the start of the 2019-2020 school year for fall sports, band and physical education classes, etc. In the meantime, arrangements have been made to host certain spring sports for Shawnee and Cherokee high schools on grass fields or at alternate venues. Track and Field will not be disrupted by the turf closure. The fields will continue to be used for non-athletic events up until construction begins, including graduation ceremonies.
LRHSD will set aside funds in its capital budget to replace the fields, as well as seek donations from the outside groups that use the fields. The exact cost of replacing the fields is unknown at this time. However, in order to save on the costs associated with this project, LRHSD will explore the various options available to purchase the materials and services required to complete this project, including participating in the New Jersey Cooperative Purchasing program. This program generally results in lower costs in projects of this type by utilizing the leverage of the State’s purchasing power to achieve the best pricing through volume driven cost savings. LRHSD is also exploring whether there is any recourse against the manufacturer of the fields for their premature failure.
Any additional questions can be directed to Business Administrator Connie Stewart.