Editor’s note: This will be the first part of a series looking at the possible FieldTurf installation at Dallas High School. Part two will look at potential benefits and drawbacks vs. grass.
DALLAS — Dallas High School may be closer than ever to finding out if the grass is truly greener on the turf side.
Whether to install FieldTurf is not a new issue at DHS, but Dallas Booster Club has called upon the services of an expert to help kickstart fundraising efforts.
Bill McNutt is a believer in FieldTurf — and it’s become a passion of his to help other schools to raise money.
“I’ve been involved with four of these projects,” McNutt said. “I was Booster Club president at Sprague High School three times. In 2007, we installed FieldTurf. Since then, I’ve helped with West Salem High School, which did a resurfacing, helped with McNary and most recently, Silverton High School.”
McNutt, who said he began working with Dallas Booster Club a couple months ago, said they asked the school district and high school administration for their blessings to reach out to the community.
“What we’re seeing is more and more private citizens, or booster clubs are seeing if they can help the school district raise money privately and donate the assets,” McNutt said.
For now, the goal is educating the Dallas Booster Club, DHS athletic director Tim Larson and a few others on the benefits of a turf field and how to share that information with the public.
“A grass field at Dallas High School has about 120 to 130 usages during the year,” McNutt said. “Artificial surfaces can take up to 1,500 usages a year. We’re talking more than football. PE classes, soccer, track, baseball and softball, youth football and soccer, there are just so many usages with it.”
The booster club has set a goal of raising $800,000 for the project. Of that, $250,000 will be in-kind materials and labor and $550,000 will be money, McNutt said.
The goal is to start and complete the project during the summer of 2018.
To reach that mark, the money will have to be raised by the end of next April.
“If we felt we had enough support for the project, we would order the field by around May 1,” McNutt said. “As soon as school was done, we’d spend about 30 days prepping the field by removing dirt, putting rocks in for drainage, putting a drainage system in and doing some paving in the end zone and surfacing for track. After the Fourth of July, we would have a FieldTurf company come in and install the surface, which takes between 12 and 15 days. Barring any interruptions, we’d try to have the field ready by the first week of August. That is our ultimate goal.”
There have been other attempts at raising money for installing a turf field before. But this time, there will be a focused, unified message, McNutt said.
“The booster club will act as the face of this project,” McNutt said.