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Jan. 30, 2007

Synthetic turf to be installed in Blazer Stadium

by Elsi Wu, Online Sports Editor
The Montgomery County Department of Parks and Planning (M-NCPPC) is currently in the preliminary stages of a project to install synthetic turf on the Blazer Stadium field.

The project is slated for summer 2008 at the earliest, and still awaits a number of approvals, including further discussion with the Montgomery County School Board and Blair's administration before actual construction is underway.

The project is being funded by M-NCPPC, who owns the field and rents it for recreational use on top of Blair's regular usage which includes home football, girls' and boys' soccer and lacrosse games.

According to Athletic Director Dale Miller, the field's high volume of use made it a prime candidate for renovation. With enough funding to revamp two fields in Montgomery County, M-NCPPC chose the Blazer Stadium field "because of the current condition, and usage [M-NCPPC] could have with the field, which is impossible now without turf," says Miller.

According to William Payton of the Parks Department, the venture's project manager, the project is currently sitting in the design stage, where design consultants are hired and the field surveyed to develop a construction plan.

Construction is expected to take six to eight weeks excluding complications, and consists of two main components installing the carpet and providing the proper drainage.

Crews will first remove between eight to twelve inches of the existing surface material and compact the remaining sub-base. Then, a drainage system will be installed, a process that may delay construction if the area is unable to meet predetermined storm-water requirements, standards set to protect the quality of the water being re-released into the environment. The manufacturer of the synthetic turf then lays down the artificial carpet which is plugged with an in-fill mix composed of sand, cryogenic rubber, or a mixture of both. The in-fill mix controls the G-maxfactor, a projected number that rates the hardness of the field's surface.

Although turf installation is projected to be about a two-month process, it is not expected to interfere with any Blair athletic events. "One of our main concerns is planning our construction around the school's schedule," says Payton.

The installation of synthetic turf is a long awaited blessing for many Blair athletes who run into trouble playing on the dusty, overused field.

Although he predicts a rotation will have to be developed to allow different teams equal use of the new field, Miller also recognizes that the construction is still two years down the road and will not be impacting Blair athletics in the near future. "Overall, [the synthetic turf] will improve our program because the field will be able to be used on a daily basis," Miller says.



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