HINESBURG, Vt- Keep the real grass or install artificial turf? Champlain Valley Union High School puts that question to a vote Tuesday as people in four area towns head to the polls.
The school board chairman says converting two of the fields into turf would ultimately save the school money. But the bottom line they say is that the fields in their current condition are not safe.
While the playing fields look nice and green now, Kurt Proulx, Director of Maintenance at CVU says that's not always the case.
“When its wet they get no footing, when they try to make corners they slip it tears the turf apart. It’s just not a good scenario,” said Proulx.
Proulx says the fields are built on a clay surface causing water to pool up quickly on the field.
Those conditions prove dangerous for student athletes and have even caused officials to cancel games.
So after studying the problem for the last two years the school board came up with a 2.6 million dollar solution.
“That’s for two turf fields, bleachers, and lights,” said Kelly Austin, Co-Chair of the CVU Turf Project.
She says the group plans to raise 1.5 million dollars through private donations to offset some of the cost.
“We are hoping to create a permanent solution,” said Austin.
And that means more money.
Voters in Charlotte, Williston, Hinesburg, and Shelburne will decide whether or not the school board can take out the 1.5 million dollar bond it needs to complete the project.
“With all the rain this area gets, it can get very muddy and that can be really dangerous so I think the turf is an excellent idea,” said Michelle Kmiec, a voter in Hinesburg.
Other voters disagree saying the money should be used to better the student’s education.
Proux says installing two turf fields would allow more time to revitalize the others.
“We'd be able to rest our other fields and make them more playable,” said Proux.
When it comes down to it the board says tax payers would not see an increase in their taxes.
That's because two other bond payments are reducing over time, so adding this bond to the mix would make it a wash.
The board also says the school would be able to rent the turf fields out to summer programs and that money would help pay for the upkeep of those fields in the future.