French Field will get new synthetic turf and a new scoreboard as the Kent School District upgrades the stadium for its four high schools.
“The synthetic turf surface on French Field has become a safety concern as measured by the current score/level of g-max (impact testing) that determines the fields playability and safety,” according to district documents.
The current turf has been on the field for 13 years, said Dave Bussard, district director of capital planning and maintenance, prior to a vote June 23 by the Kent School Board to approve the purchase of new turf for $594,170.
“We must replace it due to concussions and safety conditions,” Bussard said.
The district will use funds remaining from the 2018 capital levy to upgrade lighting at French Field. The lighting project was completed under the budget.
“We test annually, and here we are 13 years later,” Bussard said about the synthetic turf. “It’s held up very well not only with the sports we do, but other facility use.”
The new turf will be installed this summer in time for fall football and soccer games at the stadium.
Georgia-based Shaw Sports Turf will install the new surface. Shaw Sports Turf is the largest American-owned and operated synthetic turf company in the world, according to its website. The company has over 3,000 successful installations, including fields for the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball.
French Field will get a new scoreboard this year at a cost of $165,493, paid from the athletic funds budget. The board approved the purchase June 23.
“This contract is to replace the old scoreboard at French Field with a new digital scoreboard,” according to district documents. “The current scoreboard at French Field is 20 years old and has limitations for functionality, including distance viewing.
“The new digital scoreboard will display announcements and multiple advertisements that can bring a revenue source to the Kent School District. It can also show live feeds of the events on the field to enhance spectators’ views as well as displaying normal scoreboard functions.”
South Dakota-based Daktronics will make and install the new scoreboard. The company has grown with the sports industry from its beginnings in 1968. Today, the company has integrated LED super systems in nearly 60% of all professional sports facilities in the United States, according to the Daktronics website.