Is turf the best decision for USD 495? Editor in Chief Arianna Hemken says no


The talk of the town of Larned, Kansas is turf for the football field. On November fourteenth of 2022, Larned’s School Board voted not to purchase a turf football field, among other track upgrades. On December twelfth, the football field was brought up by the board again, for the fifth time, and the pro-turf community members decided to give their opinions in that meeting. In that same meeting, turf for the football field was voted on again, and the motion passed with a four against three vote. However, the fact that the motion was passed, doesn’t make a turf football field a good idea.

The School Board voted to take out a ten year lease purchase to fund the turf football field. They took out a lease purchase for up to 1,800,000 dollars. The interest rate is a little higher than 4.7 percent; this is a very high interest rate for borrowing that much money. This means that, after ten years, the school district will have paid an extra 846,000 dollars in interest that will all go to the bank. 

Taking out a ten year lease purchase is a bad financial decision. The guaranteed amount of time a turf football field will last is ten years. This means that by the time we pay off our million dollar turf football field, it will be time to resurface it. Resurfacing a turf football field costs at least 374,400 dollars. Larned could resurface the turf twice with the money it will spend on interest alone. Having to resurface the turf every ten years means that Larned will have to save an extra 37,440 dollars every year to pay for the resurfacing. 

 Larned should instead spend that money somewhere else. Spending so much money, all at once, for mainly one sport is rather self-serving for that sport alone. Instead of spending that money on a turf football field that isn’t needed, Larned should alternatively fund classroom upgrades. Mr. Scheideman stated, “Sports are adequately funded regularly. We’re trying to get students ready for the outside world, so we have got to get them the necessary skills, experience, and certifications to allow them to know what they want to do. To really improve the school, we need to focus on the fine arts and career and technical education programs.” When we talked to Mr. Apley, the welding instructor at LHS, he informed us that “There’s outdated stuff in the shop that’s 30 years old and it needs to be replaced.” 

Capital Outlay is a fund for the school district that is paid for by the citizens of Larned, through taxes. Capital Outlay can be spent on facilities, equipment, maintenance, and replacements. Paying for a million dollar turf football field with this money means that taxes will definitely not be going down for the people of Larned, Kansas. This is because the citizens of Larned are the ones paying for the new turf football field. 

The pro-turf  community has its reasons for wanting turf for the field. Many of them complain about the state of LHS’s current grass field. LHS’s grass field does have some problems. According to The Turf Factory Direct, in their article, “The Average Cost for an Artificial Turf Football Field,” they state, “The average maintenance cost of grass can hit estimates of $50,000 a year.” Larned currently spends around 20,000 dollars per year on upkeep. Therefore, Larned should prioritize the upkeep of the grass field by spending more money on it, rather than spending so much money on a synthetic turf football field. If Larned did this, the grass football field could be as good as any turf field, and it would be much more cost effective.