Thursday, August 18, 2016

RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today

Local school districts and municipalities have spent millions in recent years installing synthetic turf football and soccer fields. Now many of these installed by FieldTurf have been proven to be defective and are failing prematurely.
In Montgomery County, the public school system contracted with FieldTurf to install artificial fields at the Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson High Schools. The artificial turf at Blair High School was installed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
FieldTurf has been repeatedly sued for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recovery for fields installed in 2007 and 2008. In California, the Bret Harte Union High School District, Chaffey Joint Union High School District, and the Crystal Springs Uplands School have filed lawsuits. Another example is the Middleton-Cross Plains School District in Wisconsin. Basically, these complainants argue that the problem lies with the FieldTurf Duraspine monofilament fibers, which they blame for the fields decaying faster than the terms promised under the warranty.

RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today


RMHS’s Artificial Turf Warranty Expires Today




Artificial turf RMHS hill
The Richard Montgomery High School artificial turf field

Local school districts and municipalities have spent millions in recent years installing synthetic turf football and soccer fields. Now many of these installed by FieldTurf have been proven to be defective and are failing prematurely.
In Montgomery County, the public school system contracted with FieldTurf to install artificial fields at the Richard Montgomery and Walter Johnson High Schools. The artificial turf at Blair High School was installed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
FieldTurf has been repeatedly sued for breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recovery for fields installed in 2007 and 2008. In California, the Bret Harte Union High School District, Chaffey Joint Union High School District, and the Crystal Springs Uplands School have filed lawsuits. Another example is the Middleton-Cross Plains School District in Wisconsin. Basically, these complainants argue that the problem lies with the FieldTurf Duraspine monofilament fibers, which they blame for the fields decaying faster than the terms promised under the warranty.
The eight-year warranty for the Richard Montgomery High School artificial turf field expires today. The public information office for Montgomery County Public Schools has not been able to verify if any claims have been made under the warranty.

Artificial turf RMHS yellow line
In many locations, the rubber pellets show through in large amounts.

In 2011, Field Turf sued TenCate, the maker of the fiber, claiming that after they contracted for Tencate’s monofilament artificial grass fiber, the company “changed its fiber formula and the manufacturing process that it used to create the fiber” and provided a “less durable” product. A settlement was reached during the second week of a jury trial which is believed to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
As a local CBS story in New York exposes, taxpayers are the last to know when a school system has received the defective product.
A few days after Richard Montgomery’s turf was installed on August 18, 2008, Destrehan High School had their field installed on August 21, 2008. Drestrehan High School had their field replaced by FieldTurf which paid for 70% of the cost under their warranty.
Upon inspection, the Richard Montgomery High School field has quite a large amount of rubber pellets showing through very thin synthetic grass fibers.
Artificial turf RMHS pellets
Towson University had the same defective Duraspine material installed in June 2007 and it was replaced after five years. During the process, the University was forced to pay Field Turf for “an upgrade”.
Should Montgomery County Public Schools file to replace the fields under their warranties?
On Tuesday, Forbes published an investigative article with evidence that the artificial turf field at Walter Johnson High School puts high school players at risk. Referencing a report by Athletic Field Consultants Inc., which revealed that the G-Max often exceeded 185 (when professional athletes play on fields at 130 or less), the article stated that the consultants made a note that this was the exact premature wear and disintegration that FieldTurf itself alleged in it’s lawsuit against Tencate.
Artificial turf RMHS field
Yesterday, USA Today wrote a piece asking if a lack of standardized shock absorption rates was putting teen athletes at risk. The turf manufacturer claims the G-Max can be as high as 200. The Parent’s Coalition of Montgomery County has published a chart from OSHA that shows a G-Max of 200 “will cause death”.
If no action has been taken by Montgomery County Public Schools under the warranty, school administrators, parents, and student athletes could be faced with an increasingly dangerous situation.
Editor’s Note: As a Richard Montgomery High School parent and Parent Teacher Student Association officer, I’ve never heard any mention of the field being defective or in need of being replaced.

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