Jackson, Ohio, school fights in “turf war”

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A war over a local football field’s turf is being waged between concerned parents and those representing the tax payers.

The home field turf the Jackson, Ohio Ironmen play on at Alumni Stadium was laid down in 2004. Dusty Sexton, the father of next season’s starting QB, said that is long enough.

“You have holes that a kid could catch a cleat on, and tear his knee up,” Sexton said. “It has a 10 year life expectancy. We’ve pushed it two years past that. Let’s make it safe for the kids.”

Superintendent Phil Howard said the turf would still meet industry standards. He said three independent studies have shown that the turf is not too hardened by time, and safe for another 2-3 years.

“It’s soft enough so if a student lands hitting his head, no damage can be done to that student,” he said.

Howard also said a professional turf maintenance crew will glue and patch the field and safely prep the field before the football season begins this fall.

Sexton said modern improvements make newer fields much safer than the current 12-year-old gridiron.

“They have shock pads now that go underneath the turf,” Sexton said. “That would help.”

The stadium was designed to pay for new turf, which it has done.

13 News was told there is a fund paid for with reserved seating, and 50 cents on a soda pop, that is earmarked for stadium maintenance, and enough money has been raised in that fund to pay for a new stadium.

Installing new field turf would cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars. Howard said the district has the earmarked money but for now, will not spend it.

“If the field needed replaced, we would replace it, but I have a responsibility to the taxpayers to get as much out of it as I can,” he said.

As such, the literal “turf war” will continue.

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