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RHS Principal Endorses the Idea of Artificial Turf on the Stadium Field

He said it could pave the way toward hosting a state tourney game.

Rockville High School Principal Eric Baim on Tuesday said that the installation of artificial turf would add practical - and marquee - value to the RHS stadium field.

Baim was asked his opinion after the Board of Education meeting, which took place at the high school on Tuesday.

"I truly believe that a project like this is completely community based," he said. "We talk about bringing the community closer together and this is something that I believe will do that."

One event a new field would help is the annual music festival hosted by the Marching Ram Band. 

"The band has a tremendous following and brings in a solid competition every year," Baim said.

Baim sits on the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference football tournament committee and a new field could make a lasting impression on the region, he said.

"The field would attract that much more … we can actually host a semifinal game at the school," he said. "We have the facilities, the parking, the lights, and the stands. All we are missing is the field. Is it fair that teams from the north and northeast parts of the state have to travel to Trumbull or Shelton to play a game like that? We have the facilities to do that. Also, the midget program, travel soccer and lacrosse, parks and rec  teams all can take advantage. It will promote more kids participating in activities if they know they are playing at a facility as good as the one we can have. This community needs to come together and this might be a step in that direction."

Michael Purcaro, the director of business and finance for the Vernon school system, said a field project would be considered a capital improvement issue and it would be openly discussed as part of the "normal budgetary process."

The cost would be about $900,000 and grants would be applied for, he said.

Tolland has received a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Grant from the state to fund the design and installation of artificial turf on the THS athletic field, according to a news release from the governor's office.

It is estimated that the project will cost between $800,000 and $1 million to complete. Funding for the project is coming from the $500,000 STEAP grant, another $200,000 grant from the state of Connecticut and $300,000 in bonding from the town of Tolland.

Allison November 14, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I can think of several ways to spend the money where a greater number of students can benefit. Books, computers, improving the areas of study where our school falls behind in academics, improving the overall sports program at the high school, replace outdated sports equipment, put more bleachers in the gym and build up the recreational offerings for our younger athletes. Turf on a football field should not be a priority of the school or town.
Chris Dehnel (Editor) November 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The topic has come up not only here, but at several public meetings. The artificial turf poll is still live and I moved the poll back up in case anyone who hasn't voted wants to vote.
Stephanie Skivington November 14, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I completely agree with Allison! And since when have travel teams been permitted to play on that field? I haven't seen it!
Lisa Perry November 14, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Well put! Our schools are failing, while this may be a great idea, and the grants may be available now, we need to send a message to our community what is and is not a priority, sports are great but not a priority when kids are failing.
Paul Stansel November 14, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Plus what about the links between artificial turf and increased injury? Shouldn't safety be a big concern?
JP November 14, 2012 at 02:07 PM
That is the whole point of the turf field. Travel teams, youth programs and even High School teams have not been allowed to play on the field because it would not hold up for football. A turf field opens it to all groups because we don't worry about destroying the field. Legion sees more action in 1 month than the stadium field sees in a year and Vernon needs more fields.
Vernon Resident November 14, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I absolutely agree that the education part needs attention but these issues are mutually exclusive. Our AD should be working on improvements relating to sports but I believe he's in training for another marathon so he's tied up. Our town grant writer should be working diligently on this and any other grant that is available including those related to education. As far as injuries, ask all the other towns in our area how they are doing as turf appears to be the way to go.
Mark Kalina November 15, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Sounds too pricey to me for the limited benefit. Plus I agree with Paul with respect to safety.
Vernon Taxpayer November 15, 2012 at 02:38 AM
$900,000 WOW! Where did this come from? It was hard enough to pass a budget for items that our children really needed. What benefit will our children receive by having turf on this field? I would prefer somebody look into grants for the newest technology items. These would benefit all children not a select group. Let's come up with another idea that may help our children move forward in their educational career.
Cory Josue November 20, 2012 at 07:44 AM
Would the installation of the <a href="http://socalgreens.com/"/>artificial turf</a> really necessary? I mean, it looks good and all but I think that the 1 million budget is way too much! There are a lot of other things that we can buy from that--new sports equipments or better food in the cafeteria. I think that the council should rethink about it.

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