School officials say the cost of maintaining grass fields was going up, and Anoka-Hennepin was the only school district in the northwest suburban conference without synthetic fields. The new turf at Blaine High School cost about $1.2 million.
Blaine High School Activities Director, Shannon Gerrety, says the synthetic field will help more student-athletes get playing time in the stadium.
“In the past, we really had to limit the amount of games we could play on it because the grass would get ripped up, so we really limited this to varsity sports,” said Gerrety.
Gerrety says that means some student athletes could play four years, and unless they played at the varsity level might never play in the school’s major stadium. The new field is expected to see more use earlier in the spring and later in the fall, increasing the stadium’s usage by up to four months a year.
“We’re going to use the heck out of this because we want every kid to experience playing, practicing, being in this great venue of our, Blaine Stadium,” said Gerrety.
Officials hope the fields can be expanded from hosting about 65 events a year, including football, soccer and lacrosse, to more than 245. At the same time they expect it will provide a consistent playing surface.
“The lights, the scoreboard, and the sound, a lot of kids dreamed of playing here and we couldn’t offer that before because the grass couldn’t handle that. But now we can,” said Gerrety. “It’s good for the community good for all levels of all sports. It’s awesome.”