The answer to that question is as follows:
From: Michael White [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2009 9:30 AM
To: 'JEFF MILBURN'
Subject: RE: Cost estimates for A-Turf infield @ Bridgeforth
To answer your questions…artificial turf vs. natural has been the discussion over the last couple of months when it comes to the infield at Bridgeforth. We’ve seen prices range anywhere from $9 - $14 per square foot install costs for the turf. That range includes all of your sub-construction, curb, drainage, infill, and turf. The life span of that surface is roughly 10 years. At the 10 year mark, you’re looking at 50 – 60% of that initial cost to pay for replacement infill and turf as all of your drainage and curbing remains intact. The area we’ve been discussing converting to artificial turf is roughly 21,000 – 24,000 square feet or pretty close to your 150 x 150 estimate. So, you’re basically looking at roughly $200,000 - $225,000 for construction and $100,000 - $120,000 after 10 years to replace it. To install turf on an area that big would take anywhere between 3 – 5 weeks. At the 10 year point or time of replacement, as it stands in 2009, almost 100% of that turf and infill would go to a landfill. However, they’re working on having a viable recycling option. Who knows what technology will be like in 10 years? I would bet they have something figured out by then.
What is being discussed is laying a large square area of artificial turf that would go from the backstop and extend down each foul line 15 feet past where the infield skin stops. You’re correct, the only dirt on the infield would be the mound and everything else would be covered with turf. They use different color turf around the bases to give the appearance of cutouts. The other option is covering the entire field with artificial turf. That has it’s advantages too when you consider multi-use. We could potentially play soccer, lacrosse, football, etc. in the outfield on artificial turf. The infield only option is common at many colleges, high schools, parks, etc. mainly because of the cost. To do the entire field would probably triple that figure easily.
As far as advantages go, you’re pretty much right on with what you listed. But, it’s not realistic to expect to pay for the turf solely on your maintenance savings. Some turf companies pitch that but I don’t think it’s 100% accurate. We will no doubt see a reduction in our costs at Bridgeforth. But, you still have to have someone groom the field and we’ll still have guys mowing the outfield area (if it stays natural grass). But, the time savings in man hours for the players and coaches of our user groups would be significant allowing for more baseball play and less maintenance time. It would also save our maintenance staff man hours at the field which can be dedicated elsewhere throughout the 255 acre park system. The biggest benefit to having artificial turf is over the 10 year life cycle of the turf, you can play twice the amount of baseball than you can in the same 10 year period on a natural infield surface when you factor in maintenance hours saved and wet weather being a non-factor. The Bridgeforth renovation committee is serious about pursuing artificial turf at the field and the only way we’re going to be able to realize it is to have the committee and the user groups fundraise the money to pay for it. That’s the next step the committee will be taking and we’ll be discussing our plan of action very soon. It’s not realistic to expect the committee to raise the funds and jump through all of the necessary procurement hoops and contracts to get the turf in place before the 2010 season. That’s why we’re moving forward with the re-grade of the infield. That buys the committee the necessary time to go out and fundraise to convert it to artificial turf. At Bridgeforth Field, artificial turf is probably our best long term solution.
Hope this answers your questions.