Booster Club begins plans for turf field installation

By Jonathan Greenzaid, Buisness Manager

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Turf fields are rolling in at local and national high schools as grass fields are dying out.

CHS, too, is in the process of getting a new turf field. The field will most likely cost around $1.2 million.  It will be financed through the Churchill Booster Club and an outside organization. As of now, there is no timetable on beginning construction.

“CHS is interested in getting a turf field for the benefits it could provide our athletes with the best possible playing surface,” athletic director Scott Rivinius said.

According to Rivinius, once the county approves field construction, there will be a bidding process for organizations to be a part of a field use agreement. The organization that wins the bid will share the field with CHS.

“The organization would get a set amount of hours for usage when CHS is not using the field,” Rivinius said. “CHS teams will have priority on using the field and will practice during their normal practice hours. The turf field would be rotated among various programs for practice to maximize usage.”

According to Rivinius, grass fields can be a hassle to maintain, and inclement weather can ruin the grass.

“The problem we have with our current grass field is we have to greatly restrict usage to maintain its condition,” Rivinius said. “Another major benefit is the usage we could get out of having a surface that could be used every day for practice, multiple games as well as physical education classes and community use.”

CHS is following a trend in the county of getting turf fields. Wootton, Walter Johnson, Richard Montgomery, Paint Branch, Gaithersburg and Blair all have turf fields.

“If you look at all the other private schools, Wootton, or WJ, kids all want to play at those places,” junior lacrosse player Louis Dubick said. “Look at the University of Maryland; they just recently switched from grass to turf.”

CHS is committing to build a turf field in order to create a better sports program, according to Rivinius.

“It shows a commitment to providing the best resources possible for our student athletes,” Rivinius said.

The addition of a turf field also influences athletes’ decisions about which school to attend.

“A turf field is another perk that would separate Churchill from other schools, boosting our athletic facilities,” Dubick said. “Sports are becoming so competitive. Some kids decisions on whether to come to private school or public school are based on athletic facilities as crazy as it sounds.”

The possibility of a turf field is met with optimistic reactions from student athletes.

“The idea of having a reliable field that can be used in any and all weather allows all teams to benefit,” Dubick said. “As well, it can be used at all times and not have to be preserved for a big game. A turf field allows teams to practice on the field they would be playing a real game on, giving them much better and realistic spacing.”

According to sophomore running back Andrew Zuckerman, getting a turf field is a smart decision because it would help raise school spirit and attendance at sporting events. However, he also believes that playing on turf influences players differently.

“Honestly, I’m a superstitious guy, and I feel like I underperform on turf,” Zuckerman said. “Playing on turf is different for everybody. Some like how the shorter grass influences their game to be lighter and quicker, and for others they just hate the turf burns.”

According to girls soccer player Natalie Allen, weather delays will not be a problem with a turf field.

“Although I really like the field we have now, I think in general CHS is stepping up their sports program,” Allen said. ” There will be less weather delays and the field won’t get torn up after other CHS sports teams use it.”