“Bloop.” That’s a direct quote from the football field in the winter. Anyone who tries to run on it probably won’t feel like they’re running on grass as much as they are on a thin tarp over a swimming pool. And seeing as we already have a fully functional swimming pool, that’s not something we want.
The reason for this would be fundamental flaws in the drainage system, which have caused the area underneath the football field to become bloated with water when it rains. This is a major nuisance for football players and coaches who have to play on the soggy field. “The ground is really mushy and hard to run on. It’s really annoying when it rains,” says Brett Bukowski, a football player. Mr. Poetzinger, a coach, describes the field as a “waterbed, where you push on one end and the whole thing comes up in a wave.”
Another football coach, Mr. Morris, seems to agree with Mr. Poetzinger about the waterbed comparison. “The field resembles a swimming pool when it rains, and someone could be hurt during a football or soccer game,” he says. Even though the inflated field is potentially a dangerous problem, fixing it is hard to address because it only becomes waterlogged with excessive rain. The problem is complicated even further by the fact that the drainage system is not something easily modified, and is much more effective at draining the time and effort of school faculty than it is at draining water. Mr. Morris captures the pure annoyance of the situation perfectly: “The school decided to purchase a new field because the drainage on the old mud field was terrible. Well, now we have a new field and the drainage is not working. How’s that for irony?” Seeing as the field was a multimillion-dollar endeavor, this is not a problem that these pestered sportspeople are going to simply put up with.
According to Mr. Northcutt, yet another football coach, the company that installed the sports field placed the wrong drainage rock under the artificial turf. The intended drainage capacity is two times the volume of the field instead of six, a mistake that ensures inadequate drainage. That’s like pouring six liters of coffee into a mug that was made to hold two liters, leaving four liters of coffee to spill all over your nice multimillion-dollar carpet. It’s not fun.
Two attempts have been made to correct the problem using methods that did not involve the complete overhaul of the field, but neither attempt has been successful and now the water trapped underneath the turf has made the field uneven. The SLV School District paid for both attempts to repair the damage. Since this is an ongoing problem, the district conducted a cost analysis and discovered that another attempt at repairing the field would exceed the total cost of replacement.
The school decided to purchase a new field because the drainage on the old mud field was terrible. Well, now we have a new field and the drainage is not working. How’s that for irony?
When the school district turned expectant eyes towards the original contractors, the original contractors pointed at the laboratory that tested the drainage rocks, claiming that the problem wasn’t their fault. Whether the drainage rock testing laboratory is better at scapegoating than testing drainage rock remains to be seen. There is no confirmation on whether or not the district has decided to pursue fixing the problem with the field.
Student safety is one of the top priorities at any school, and San Lorenzo Valley School District should pursue repairing the field to avoid injuries and provide a level playing field for sports events. At the very least the field should be fixed because the school paid a large amount of money for a superior product, and they received one of inferior quality. Someone should do something about that.
– Katrina Luque & Jesse McMilin