Monday, October 5, 2009

High School Field to Be Replaced ... Again|ABC 7 News

High School Field to Be Replaced ... Again|ABC 7 News

BETHESDA, Md. - The football field at Montgomery County (web | news)'s Walter Johnson High School will soon be torn up and replaced -- for the second time in six months. One parents group complains it's a waste of money for a school system facing tough economic times.
As part of ongoing renovations at the school crews dug up the stadium field last year and temporarily replaced it this summer with a grass field.

"We didn't have a field last year and having a field now is really good for us," said Noah Scheetz-Ziegel, a student.

But the new grass field will be dug up in a few months to be replaced with artificial turf.

"It just seems like an incredible waste of money, but everybody's on this bandwagon to get artificial turf," said Marta Vogel, a parent.

The parents group claims the school system spent more than $400,000 on a temporary field only to have it dug up after a few months of use.

"I don't know if there's ever a good time in the economy when spending $432,500 on one football season is prudent, but certainly in these economic times, we're here to shine some light on that and ask, 'Can we really afford to be doing this right now?'" said Janis Sartucci, with the Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County.

But the school system claims it spent less than $100,000 on the temporary field and the work laying it.

"Most of the cost of installing that sod field was in the grading, which will still be used when the artificial turf is installed," said schools spokeswoman Kate Harrison.

School officials say the sod and the underground sprinklers will be relocated to another school in the spring.

The parents group says it wants to know how much that will cost.

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