Fishback stadium will get new turf

Fieldturf USA, Inc. will begin installation in late June

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By the fall, Washougal High School athletes will have a new turf field to play on. The Washougal School Board recently approved a contract with Fieldturf USA, Inc., to purchase a new playing surface.

Fishback Stadium is finally getting a facelift.

After more than two years of discussion, research, and fund-raising, the $449,000 project will start June 24 at Washougal High School.

Fieldturf USA, Inc., in conjunction with Beynon Sports Surfaces, has been selected for the turf field replacement project.

Fieldturf is based out of Montreal, and Beynon Sports is an Maryland-based company with representatives in Tualatin.

Joe Steinbrenner, facilities director, noted that the price is tentative.

“The scope of work will stay the same but the final pricing may be adjusted slightly,” he said.

Engineering, permits, new goalposts and sales tax are not included in the bid, which is expected to cost another $50,000, approximately.

The WHS Turf Campaign Committee, comprised of district parents and patrons, has raised $30,000 to offset the cost of the field. The committee is hoping to raise another $20,000 by the time work begins, according to member Amanda Klackner.

“We’re very excited about this,” she said.

Originally, the committee was attempting to raise half the costs for field replacement, but it was decided to go ahead and replace the aging field, using what it had raised so far, due to safety concerns.

“The existing turf is failing and the district was concerned that to wait for the community fund-raising effort to reach the half mark would put the athletic programs and classes that use the turf field in jeopardy for the coming year,” said Dawn Tarzian, district superintendent. “The district also did not want to see donations made by patrons toward the turf replacement sit in a reserve if the old turf was unable to be used at some point next year. It is important to the district that these donated funds be spent to get the new turf in place.”

She added that the Turf Committee remained “very aware” of its mission.

“They recognized that for every dollar raised for the turf field, the district would be able to use resources to address other facilities and operational needs,” she said.

Tarzian added that the 2013-14 school district budget will include the commitment of $45,000 to a turf replacement fund.

“The School Board will determine (whether) to dedicate the same each year for the next ten or eleven years so that a district budget reserve is available when the turf needs to be replaced,” she said.

One debate over the new turf was whether to go with traditional green or black. Ultimately, green prevailed, although WHS will still sport its colors with a large, orange “W” in the center of the field, outlined in black.

All markings will be sewn into the field. Currently, school staff repaints the lines by hand every few weeks during the football season.

“I think it will be a stunning field,” said Steinbrenner.

He noted that it is of the same quality that some NFL teams use.

“We think we will get a lot more life of it than what is there currently,” he said.

The original field was installed in 2002.

“My son will be happy to hear about this,” said Blaine Peterson, School Board chairman. “And he’ll be safe out there.”