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Bonita to get plastic grass

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Students at Bonita High School will have a new synthetic turf at Glenn Davis Stadium by the first football game of the fall season.

The La Verne City Council voted 4-1 to pass a construction agreement between the Bonita Unified School District and the city of La Verne on March 5.

Funding for the project will be provided by grants and the Park Development Funds.

The total amount of funds needed for the project is estimated at more than $1 million.

“(I’m) just concerned that if we spend all our money, we won’t be able to light other parks,” city council member Steven Johnson said.

“My response is, if you’re going to undertake large scale projects, it requires an all-out commitment of funds,” Eric Podley, athletic director at Bonita High School, said.

Podley notes that the city has a history of using all its funding for other equally large scale projects: the Swimming complex with the University of La Verne, the skate park and the sports complex.

“All these programs have turned out to be successful and extremely well used,” Podley said.

The city has noted that they periodically make huge expenditures on other facilities such as the skate park.

“It’s my belief that this turf field will return similar investments to city and community,” Podley said.

City manager Martin Lomeli was also concerned how this field would benefit other facilities.

Some city council members were still unsure that the benefits of the new synthetic turf will outweigh its cost.

“We don’t need to create traffic for other communities, I realize there are many other ways [to use money],” Podley said.

Bonita School Board member Jim Elliot considers this is an opportunity for the district.

“On a personal level, this is a big deal for us,” Elliot said. Students at Bonita High School are also excited about the new turf. They agree that the field is worn and in need of an update.

“Turf would be better,” freshman basketball player Jay Bernard said. “I know when they turn on the sprinklers it gets all muddy.”

Senior Brittany Carr supports getting the new field. She has seen the condition of the field worsen in the last four years.

“We should because our field sucks,” Carr said. “I think it’s a good idea. It was really nice when I was a freshman but [now] its muddy and gross.”

Synthetic turf will only be placed on the stadium field and the other fields will remain natural grass. The mud is a big concern for school officials.

“For our situation here, its better because it [turf] can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year under any weather conditions,” Podley said. “Our fields are saturated. This will allow us to have a perfect field allows us to take pressure off the natural fields and allow those fields to rehab and be repaired.” Defensive Coach Ron Reclusado agrees.

“This will save money on watering, cutting the lawn, chalking,” Reclusado said.

Reclusado notes, “According to studies, The money that they save over time will pay for itself. It’s a lot more natural.”

Biology Professor Jay Jones disagrees with how natural the turf is.

“You got to think in terms of producing the Astroturf,” Jones said. “You generate a tremendous amount of solid waste. Plastic is one of the most difficult things to get rid of.”

Podley understands the cost of the turf is expensive, but the result on campus will be worth the cost.

“If you examine the cost of watering, fertilizing, aerating, mowing, painting, receding that natural turf requires and a synthetic turf does not need, I think over a 10 year period we’ll come close to a price offset,” Podley said. “There’s a lot less maintenance.”

“We’re using all of our resources for park development,” Johnson said. “My concern relates to the condition of the sports park. What I see is, the main need is to get kids on other fields.”

Jones also notes that there are tons of chemicals in the synthetic turf. ‘The individual process to make plastics, you’re going to use quite a bit of water for that too,” Jones said.

Construction of the new turf is scheduled to commence on July 5.

Other California schools and communities adopting synthetic turf include: Lakeside High School in Lake Elsinore. Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita, West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, Los Angeles Harbor College and the City of Santa Ana.

Alexandra Lozano can be reached at alozano@ulv.edu.

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