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Synthetic Football Field Gives Illinois High School Room to Grow Other Programs and Activities

Dunlap Eagles Synthetic Turf Field

DUNLAP, IL – When the fastest-growing school district in central Illinois needed a solution to its land-locked space constraints, Dunlap High School turned to Turf Solutions Group for a synthetic turf solution that could handle multiple sports and rigorous daily use.

With larger freshman classes coming each year, this suburban school district faced a challenge of how and where to accommodate the extracurricular activities and physical needs for more students than its current space allowed.

So in the spring of 2011, the school decided to install synthetic turf on its football field. The project benefitted not only the football program, but the school and community as a whole.

“There is no doubt that the installation of synthetic turf has increased our sports practice space, band practice options and P.E space,” said Duane Peterson, who is in his 19th year as Athletics Director at Dunlap and is also the girls track coach. “In weather conditions where our students were outside, there was some group on the new synthetic field at all times. We had combinations of middle school and high school P.E. classes, band practice, football and soccer practices in the fall. In the past, none of these groups would have been allowed to have activities and practice on the natural turf. Most evenings, there were groups using the field until 9:00 p.m.

“The best thing I can say is that no matter how many groups used the synthetic field or what the weather conditions were like on any given day, it looked and performed the same the next day.”

As with any taxpayer-supported school district, cost was a primary factor in the project. Peterson thought TSG did an exemplary job of working with them in this regard and was sensitive to their needs and budgetary constraints.

“It was very important in trying economic times that we stay within our budget,” Peterson said. “TSG realized this also and worked to give us the best product for the money we had budgeted. Even with adverse weather conditions, they were able to deliver our field on time and within budget.”

Dunlap is the first high school in central Illinois to install a synthetic field, but Peterson thinks more and more schools will explore this option in the near future.

“I have to believe that if other schools can afford it, they will move towards synthetic turf,” he said. “There is little maintenance and you have unlimited ability to use that space for a variety of activities.

“We are completely sold on the product.”

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