Just three days away from the start of the high school football season, Turlock Unified School District has closed Joe Debely Stadium indefinitely because of an unplayable surface.
In separate compaction tests conducted by MondoTurf and district officials, the once cutting-edge artificial turf — part of a $3.6 million renovation of the community facility — was found to be too hard for activity and sport.
Turlock High athletic director Mike Brown said the issue is the rapid disintegration of the eco-friendly infill — the pellets that help soften impact. As the infill has broken down, the field has hardened to the point of Tuesday’s startling announcement...
...Brown said the issue came to light in April following a test by district officials, who placed a call for help to the global turf giant. Brown said it took nearly three months for MondoTurf to conduct its own test. Representatives returned Saturday with “the miracle worker,” Brown said, a machine that resembled a riding lawn mower. The machine “fluffed” the turf with a fork.
No miracle was performed.
Brown said the district is handcuffed by the warranty agreement, and the first-year athletic director fears this battle may play out in court. The turf is under warranty through 2018.
Brown said the infill was supposed to last “10 to 15 years before it would do anything. It didn’t even last six years.”
“Right now, we’re fighting with them,” he added. “We’re at their mercy. We can’t do anything because it would void the warranty. It’s frustrating.”...
And another artificial turf football field shut down for being too hard.