December 2012

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 13 of 51

Facility&Operations | By Mary Helen Sprecher Financing and constructing a new field might say it was the best of times and the worst of times. Field managers might not be quite that dramatic, but they're no strangers to the risks, rewards and challenges of their profession. Charles Dickens In terms of sports, however, it is the best of times. The demand for quality fields is at an all-time high. It's easy to see why: more kids are playing than ever before. In fact, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) just released its annual Sports Participation Survey, which as it has every year for more than two decades, shows more kids playing sports than the previous year. In fact, in the 2011-12 academic year there was an all-time high of 7,692,520 participants. Alliance, Folsom, CA Photo courtesy of Beals AZ l Acr ylics, Inc., Phoenix, Photo courtesy of Genera lon, OH Sports Contractors, Massil Photo courtesy of Vasco Look at the top 10 of those sports, and what do you see? A lot of sports fields getting used: football, soccer, lacrosse, baseball and softball are all in the top 10 most popular sports. That adds up to the previously mentioned demand for facilities. Given the rise of these sports, the turf field could be the best of choices. After all, it's able to host multiple sporting events in the same day without getting skinned, it's not susceptible to many of the problems facing natural grass, and it has better drainage by far than fields that will become muddy following a rain. Unfortunately, in the current economy, budgeting for new fields—natural or synthetic—continues to be a problem. And sports field builders are seeing schools faced with an impasse when it comes time to build or rehab fields. But, say the builders and designers, things are looking up. "We think the tide is slowly turning," says Paul Schinner of The Motz Group, LLC in Cincinnati. "Most contractors in our business were hit harder in 2010 than they were in 2008 or 2009. Now, as things are slowly picking up with the economy, we are hoping that people who have been on the fence will start to spend. The amount of off-season activity (re- While budget planning can be intimidating, it can open the door to possibilities for more economical options. In fact, in some installations, project owners have taken the concept of saving money, and elevated it to a whole new level. Photo courtesy of Verde Design, Santa Clara, CA 14 SportsTurf | December 2012

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