D218 to study in­stalling ar­ti­fi­cial turf on its fields

Daily Southtown (Sunday) - - News - By Gre­gory Te­jeda

Com­mu­nity High School Dis­trict 218 of­fi­cials will study in com­ing weeks the mer­its of in­stalling ar­ti­fi­cial turf at ath­letic fields at its high schools in Oak Lawn, Pa­los Heights and Blue Is­land.

School board mem­ber Robert Stokas said Thurs­day he thinks it might be worth the ef­fort to re­place the nat­u­ral grass fields in use at Richards, Shep­ard and Eisen­hower high schools.

“Most other high schools in the area have al­ready done this,” Stokas said. “I’m not say­ing we need to have Field­Turf just be­cause ev­ery­body else has it, but it is some­thing we ought to con­sider.”

Board Pres­i­dent Thomas Kosowski said com­mit­tees will meet in com­ing weeks to study the is­sue, par­tic­u­larly cost.

While Stokas wasn’t sure how much the project Com­mu­nity High School Dis­trict 218 board mem­ber Robert Stokas, left, on Thurs­day dis­cusses re­plac­ing the play­ing sur­faces of the dis­trict’s ath­letic fa­cil­i­ties.

would cost, he said work likely would have to be com­pleted over a num­berof years, per­haps with one school per aca­demic year get­ting new turf.

Stokas said he’d like to in­clude the play­ing fields at the dis­trict’s ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices at 10701 S. Kilpatrick Ave. in Oak Lawn.

Stokas said those fields are used by other high school teams in sports such as soc­cer and soft­ball and also are put to use by the south­west sub­ur­ban el­e­men­tary schools that feed stu­dents into Dis­trict 218.

Al­though the dis­trict does not ex­pect to make a

de­ci­sion on play­ing sur­face re­place­ment un­til later this year, Stokas al­ready has one sup­porter for the idea.

School board mem­ber Johnny Holmes said he wants to hear from the ath­letic coaches at Richards, Shep­ard and Eisen­hower, but also ad­mit­ted his past op­po­si­tion to ar­ti­fi­cial turf has soft­ened.

“I’ve been told that mod­ern turf is dif­fer­ent, and it would not make our stu­dents more in­jury-prone if they played on it,” Holmes said.

Gre­gory Te­jeda is a free­lance re­porter.

GRE­GORY TE­JEDA/DAILY SOUTH­TOWN

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