NEW ALBANY —
EAST COACH PRAISES SYNTHETIC TURF
If there is one school in Southern Indiana that has benefited from synthetic turf, it is Columbus East.
New Albany and Floyd Central’s Hoosier Hills Conference foe has had the surface at Stafford Field for eight years. Not only does the Olympians’ varsity football team, which won the Class 4A state championship last fall, plays on the surface, but East’s middle school, freshman and JV programs competes on the surface as well.
In addition, the Columbus East band practices on it once a week, East’s physical education classes use it often and several other Olympians’ athletic programs utilize it.
East athletic director and football coach Bob Gaddis has nothing but great things to say about synthetic turf.
“We practice on it daily. It is a much safer surface and provides a consistent area for practice,” Gaddis said. “Coaches can run drills in the same spot and it will not hurt the surface. The consistency for drill work and team time is a real benefit. There are no issues with bad weather. The cost for maintenance is much lower.”
Gaddis applauds the three area schools going to the synthetic turf.
“It is a great move,” Gaddis said. “We have had several schools visit our field and ask questions. Whether it is an addition or starting from scratch, it is the best use of athletic space.”
ANY OTHER TAKERS?
One area school that is considering a move to synthetic turf is Jeffersonville. Red Devil athletic director Todd Satterly is currently looking into a possible new surface for Blair Field.
“Jeffersonville High School is currently in the process of doing an athletic facility study through the architectural firm of Kovert Hawkins [in Jeffersonville],” Satterly said in a recent email. “The study has not been finalized, but turf fields are a consideration.”
Three athletic directors in the News and Tribune coverage area — Silver Creek’s Larry Richmer, Clarksville’s Khelli Leitch and Eastern’s Scott Newcomb — each say their respective schools are not considering a move to synthetic turf at this time. Charlestown athletic director Chad Gilbert did not respond to an email about the possibility of synthetic turf at Dutch Reis Field.
Richmer said in a recent email the grass turf at Silver Creek’s football field is in currently good condition to host several athletic events.
“We play varsity, JV and middle school football as well as boys’ and girls’ soccer on our field, so a synthetic surface might be beneficial,” Richmer said. “But the field we have held up very well last year and we realize that school corporations have limited dollars to spend on a multitude of projects.”