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Buffalo Grove Park District Partners with BGHS to Install Synthetic Turf

Buffalo Grove High School's football field will be shared with the park district.

The will help pay for synthetic turf on the football field, officials from both institutions said Friday. In return, the park district will gain use of the space for its athletic programs when the field is not in use by high school students.

Under the agreement, the park district will contribute up to $500,000 toward the field, which is estimated to cost $1 million. The school district will incur the remainder of the cost, which could also include payments for pre-installation work such as drainage, District 214 spokeswoman Venetia Miles said.

The School Board approved the partnership Thursday. Final approval from the Buffalo Grove Park Board is expected to come during a special meeting on Feb. 13.

The school district will soon put the project out for bid. Work is expected to begin after the school year ends in June and be completed by the time classes resume in August, Miles said.

"We've had a long history of cooperating with District 214 on projects," Dan Schimmel, executive director of the Buffalo Grove Park District, said in a statement. "Though our 40-year cooperative agreement for the Buffalo Grove High School's use of the Aquadome is our most notable, we use the high school facilities for sports, performing arts, and special events. Conversely, the high school has used our parks for soccer and cross country.

"This project gives us the opportunity to have that one field for our flag football and soccer programs that can be used no matter what the weather may be," he added. "Sharing the expense for the construction of this facility and sharing the use, assures the community that its dollars will be used in the best possible way. Not only will the synthetic turf field support two of our largest sports programs in flag football and soccer, but we hope to be able to use the stadium track for new programs we have planned."

Buffalo Grove Park District spokesman Mike Terson said officials are considering adding a track and field program. The high school's stadium could also be used to form an outdoor summer walking program, similar to the indoor one held at the .

The new playing surface will prevent game cancellations due to the weather, he said. "If there's a bad storm, as long as there's no lightning, the fields are playable right away."

The football field will also be the park district's first lighted facility for soccer and flag football, Terson said. The park district's only other lighted fields are used by baseball players at .

"I think when kids are playing the game on the same field that the varsity kids play, it adds a little something to the experience," he said.

The park district will be able to use the high school field during non-school hours when it's not needed for school programs, Miles said. That will likely be weekdays after 6 p.m., some Saturdays and Sundays, she said.

Last summer, synthethic turf was installed at and Hersey high schools with from the Wheeling and Arlington Heights park districts.

Miles said the new fields have already benefitted both parties.

"What we have found is there are so many activities taking place on the Wheeling and Hersey fields, no just for educational purposes, but for the community," she said. "This really is a win-win for the community and a benefit to the schools and the park districts."

The District 214 School Board also approved Thursday collaborations between the Mount Prospect Park District and Prospect High School and Elite Soccer of America, Inc., and Rolling Meadows High School's field. Those schools are also scheduled to have synthetic turf installed this summer.

"We are thrilled to have found additional partners to collaborate with us on this project," District 214 Superintendent Dave Schuler said in a statement. "This partnership benefits the community as well as the school district. It is a win-win for everyone."

The School Board in early 2011 to seek partners to help defray the cost of installing synthetic turf in the stadium fields throughout the district. A feasibility study indicated it was cost prohibitive for the district to install synthetic turf alone.

By sharing the costs with partners, the field will pay for itself in less than eight-and-half years compared to a field's life expectancy of 10-14 years, Miles said.

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