Wednesday, July 25, 2012


(BRYAN, Texas) - Bryan and Rudder High School have now joined the trend of schools converting to AstroTurf sports fields.

Bryan High School, in addition to a new track, has added an all new AstroTurf field at Merrill Green Stadium.  Rudder High School, which is also in the Bryan Independent School District (ISD) has added a 65-yard AstroTurf practice field.

“We were one of the last to convert from natural grass,” said Bryan ISD Athletic Director Harry Francis.  “With AstroTurf, we will get more bang for our buck because we will be able to accommodate more kids and more activities.  We will also be in line to host more playoff games in football.”

The decision to convert was made after a great deal of research, according to Francis.
Burnside Construction strongly recommended AstroTurf.  

“We’ve done a lot of work with Burnside,” said Francis.  “They are very reputable and with us they have always on-task when it comes to project management and they don’t cut corners.  They’ve done a number of high school and collegiate fields, so when they recommended AstroTurf, that meant a lot.”

Francis also cited AstroTurf installations at Texas A&M, Allen Academy, and Brenham High School as playing a role in the decision-making process.

Francis cited a multitude of positives resulting from installation of the two fields.

“We can be on the field every day,” he said.  “This is Texas, and when you consider the weather, your time on a field can be affected.  It’s not always heat.  We’ve had a lot of rain this year.”

Francis said sports teams at the school would benefit, both during the season and in the off-season as a training tool.  He also said the band and other fine arts groups would benefit from use of the fields.

“These fields have created an edge of excitement,” he said.  “It provides momentum for our programs and the possibility to generate additional revenue.  This jumps us back up in the playoff business because we have an 11,000 seat stadium and we’re a mid-point for smaller school districts and communities such as Austin and Houston.”

“There is nothing like Texas when it comes to high school sports,” said Chad Feris, AstroTurf Regional Sales Manager.  “These are great facilities and we are looking forward to watching the programs at Bryan and Rudder grow over these next few years.”

The make-up of the AstroTurf system stands out.  This surface features the Horseshoe fiber.  This fiber is enjoying unprecedented success in the sports field marketplace, due to factors such as its unique shape.  The fiber’s horseshoe shape features two end columns with a thicker diameter.  The design imparts mechanical memory so that the fiber remains upright longer, unlike other fields whose fibers quickly flatten and split or shred at the spine.  The Horseshoe fiber continues to spring back to its original configuration, even after years of heavy foot traffic or exposure to ultra-violet radiation.

The Horseshoe fiber is in use on fields in Texas at places like Brenham and Muleshoe.  It’s also featured prominently at Kansas State University and with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Boston College is set to unveil its new field, made from the Horseshoe fiber, this fall.

The field also a face weight of 60 ounces of fiber per square yard, the highest in the industry.  This adds to the durability provided by the fiber shape.

The Horseshoe fiber’s shape also allows it to reflect light and heat away from the surface.  That, in combination with AstroFlect heat reduction technology, can lower surface temperatures by as much as 18%.

The field also has RootZone, a thatch layer which holds the sand and rubber infill in place for less splash and migration, making for a more consistent playing surface.

From a maintenance standpoint, the field will require periodic grooming, but maintenance efforts are greatly reduced.  This will be vitally important as it related to the amount of use the new field will get, but will not require the maintenance required by a grass field to accommodate this level of use.

Francis has estimated annual field upkeep costs for grass fields in the district at $25,000.  He figures maintenance on the new AstroTurf surfaces to be around $3,000.

Regarding safety, a study at Michigan State University, funded by NFL Charities, found that AstroTurf GameDay Grass systems had performance values more like natural grass than any other synthetic product measured, making it the safest option.  In extensive testing, the Horseshoe fiber performs most like natural grass from ball roll, to slide resistance, to the biomechanical function of cleats penetrating and releasing properly.  

From an aesthetics standpoint, the fields look amazing.  Making it even better is the fact that the football lines and logos are prefabricated and manufactured as part of the field, so the look is consistent.

There are a couple of added benefits.  One is the environment.  In 2010, BASF did a study comparing AstroTurf fields to natural grass fields.  In 11 environmental categories, AstroTurf had a lower environmental footprint than natural grass.  Factors contributing to this include reduced maintenance and mowing, which cause a variety of emissions.  Other factors include elimination of fertilizers and pesticides, as well as the need for water.  AstroTurf fields also use soy-based polyols in the backing of products, reducing their dependence on foreign oil. 

From an economic standpoint, over 20 years, AstroTurf fields are, on average, 15% less expensive than natural grass fields, even when the cost of turf replacement is considered.

Finally, the biggest benefit seen by the most people will be the performance of the teams at Bryan and Rudder.

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"This is not your father's AstroTurf" - Archie Manning