Monday, November 28, 2016
This is Part Three in our four-part series. Here’s where to find Part One and Part Two.
Twenty artificial turf fields that once gleamed in the San Diego sun have quickly fallen apart over the last decade thanks to a defect.
The field failures have created dilemmas for school districts that tried to get replacements from FieldTurf USA under the manufacturer’s eight-year warranty. Often, schools were faced with the option of choosing a free replacement with the same defective material, or paying thousands of dollars more to upgrade to a non-defective product that would hold up as originally promised.
San Diego Unified – the region’s largest FieldTurf buyer – had at least two defective fields replaced with more of the same turf that failed...
Voice of San Diego scoured thousands of San Diego Unified documents and sought an interview with district officials to discuss the district’s FieldTurf history. Officials declined multiple interview requests and instead made defensive, misleading and at times outright dishonest claims by email.
For starters, Reed-Porter said district fields were replaced for free under warranty before they actually failed as a preventative measure.
“The FieldTurf fields in San Diego Unified did not fail. It would be inaccurate for you insinuate or report in your story,” she wrote Sept. 21. “According to FieldTurf at the time, the fields were beginning to show signs of wear, and might not last though (sic) the entire warranty period.”
That’s not quite what district and FieldTurf officials said in emails when $1.5 million worth of FieldTurf Duraspine turf installed in 2010 at Mira Mesa, San Diego and Morse high schools needed replacement after only four years...
...The district has had such confidence in FieldTurf over the years, no other manufacturer has been allowed to compete for the turf job. Public officials continue to argue FieldTurf’s superior product and warranty allows them to skip competitive bidding normally required by state law for public works projects.