TRAVERSE CITY — Glen Lake High School will install a synthetic turf playing surface prior to the upcoming fall sports season after the school board voted 6-1 in favor of the $839,488 project.

The district opened up the process to accept bids for the project back in April, and it has since been determined Glen Lake will be the home of an AstroTurf-brand playing field, fit for football, soccer and a multitude of other activities.

“It’s all about getting kids moving and being active,” Glen Lake superintendent Sander Scott said. “The board felt the synthetic option would provide the most opportunities for kids to be active and promote that lifestyle we want kids to develop.”

Scott said Glen Lake opted to go with the bid from AstroTurf because of varying field options not available from all bidders, such as which materials are used for the field’s infill — the loose, often rubber, components dispersed among the artificial grass blades.

For instance, some infills are made of recycled tires, but AstroTurf allows for the uses of recycled shoe soles.

The school board is scheduled to meet again on Thursday and hear from consultant Scott Jozwiak of Jozwiak Consulting, who has helped lead the district’s bid process. Jozwiak recommended the AstroTurf system to the school board, following that process.

Certain aspects of the field, like which infill will be used or what drainage system to install, have yet to be determined.

Those factors could affect the price of the project, but Scott said he believes the final billing will fall below the nearly $840,000 price tag. The timing of the project, which Scott believes to be favorable, will determine if AstroTurf will use its own excavating equipment or have need to rent one locally. If AstroTurf can use it’s own equipment, Scott believes the project would find a significant savings.

The synthetic surface is more expensive than the cost of a new natural grass field, but the durability of the AstroTurf is superior and it will provide more use by the district in early spring months.

Scott also believes the entire K-12 will benefit from the field, including physical education classes.

“The board was comfortable spending up to that amount given the qualities of AstroTurf and overall synthetic fields,” Scott said. “How much we could actually use to the field. If we’re going to spend upward of $450,000 on natural grass, we just wanted to get more usage out of it than what a natural surface can withstand.”

The full cost of the project is covered by the district’s general fund. District residents will not experience a tax increase because of the project.

The completion date was originally July 31, but Scott said that window has likely been pushed back to mid-August. Glen Lake football plays its first home game Sept. 1.

Scott said that while the public may perceive the addition of a turf field as an emphasis on athletics, the school board has a well-rounded vision for the district in mind.

“This board is committed to provide the very best comprehensive programming for our kids,” he said. “This is one piece of that.”

Jozwiak Consulting and head football coach Jerry Angers could not be reached for comment.

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