Posted: 6:32 am Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Palm Beach Gardens’ new stadium, which will be used for football, soccer, lacrosse, track and other outdoor sports, currently looks like a BMX course: it is all dirt and has a huge hill in the middle of it.
I doubt they’ll keep the hill, even though it would make Friday nights a lot more interesting.
“We thought about starting a motocross team,” Gators athletic director Bill Weed said.
In the meantime, Weed is trying to secure funding for field turf, like Boca Raton has at its multi-purpose stadium. Weed expected to have the answer by this week but has not gotten the green light yet.
The biggest reason Weed wants field turf is because of Palm Beach Gardens’ location. The school is boxed in by neighborhoods and has little available space for practice fields. Weed’s logic is that field turf’s durability would mean teams could practice in the stadium as well as play games and matches in it.
The general perception of field turf is that it costs more up front but saves money in the long run because it holds up better than real grass. It requires less actual maintenance, does not succumb to adverse conditions and sustains far more use. Boca Raton is the only area school to install it, which it did prior to this school year, so there is not much in the way of local case studies. If there are any sod/turf experts out there who would like to weigh in, your input is welcomed.
Weed is hopeful the field will open in time for the football season, but said the school is prepared for the alternative, which is asking to use Dwyer’s field again.
The football team’s pre-season game is on the road, and its first district home game is not until mid-season, Weed said. If the Gators can keep their first two or three non-district games on the road, they could wait for the new stadium to open in the middle of the season rather than relying on Dwyer’s Blum Stadium.