February 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Page 22 of 51 February 2017 | SportsTurf 23 FACILITY & OPERATIONS ■ BY PETER AUTH RESURRECTING A FIELD AT THE K-12 LEVEL drought tolerant plants, and effective watering practices. I also realized that students and coaches were being forced to share available green spaces, often leading to miscommunication and lack of room due to scheduling problems, practices and forfeiture of games. The lack of functional and effective play- ing fields continued with no resolution for the kids to be able to play competitive and recreational sports activities on their home fields. Many of the fields that I inherited were riddled with active gopher holes, hard soil, bare spots, no growth, weeds and a lack of any real fertile soil. With the soccer season starting in the fall of 2016, I was approached by the SCUSD facilities manager to see if they could turn over a football field at Peterson Middle School where students had been affected, with no place to play. The school's principal said the existing field had not been used in 9 years due to active gopher holes, uneven surfaces and the proneness to ankle injuries. The field had been shut down after numerous complaints from parents and physical education teachers concerned with the risks to students. Physical educa- tion teachers had been forced to use blacktop and parking area surfaces for all activities and classes. The principal said that mounds of dirt had been brought in over the years to fill the holes but nothing was ever sustainable. In previous years, the Peterson Middle School soccer team scrambled to find open green space to play and practice, even sharing a local park field across the street. However, earlier this year, they were asked to discontinue use of the park field due to a new private school being built there. The cost of housing and population has not only skyrocketed in this area, the cost of losing valuable green space has as well. The Silicon Valley's high tech companies attract talent A fter the recession in 2008, Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) had to reallocate many of its resources away from athletic fields, common areas and playgrounds. Though in better economic times, SCUSD's resources continue to be strained as they work to meet the demands of a growing population and unprecedented levels of new housing and traffic in the area. An article dated February 16, 2016 by a CBS news affiliate said that "the economic growth in Silicon Valley's technology sector has swelled to such unprecedented levels that housing, transit and highways are 'bursting at the seams' in an effort to accommodate the sudden surge in prosperity." While "bursting at the seams," this area has seen a depletion of accessible green space uses for physical education and after school activities. SCUSD is in the heart of Northern California's Silicon Valley, located at the south end of the San Francisco Bay known as the South Bay Area. The State and Santa Clara County have been plagued by drought conditions for more than 5 years, receiving an average 330 sunny days per year with no rain, making natural turf playing surfaces almost a thing of the past. Water conservation efforts have been in full swing throughout the state. California has a new saying: "Brown is the new green." Burrowing coastal prairie animals take to their new living quarters quite well, only adding to concerning field conditions. New construction development, lack of rain and preservation of water has led to poor playing surfaces and gopher and rodent infested fields, forcing the school district to use resources in a multitude of ways. I came to the South Bay Area from Central New York a little more than 2 years ago. Despite the differences in climate and growth patterns, I quickly became acclimated to the area's growth patterns, SANTA CLARA USD Santa Clara Unified School District serves over 15,300 TK-12 students, in addition to students in Preschool through Adult School. Neighborhoods in the Cities of Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Cupertino comprise the District's 56 square-mile area. Santa Clara Unified prides itself on having teachers, classified employees and administra- tors who are dedicated, experienced profession- als who care about each student's well-being and academic preparation.

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