Synthetic turf costs more to install, ALMOST as much to maintain, and HAS TO BE replaceD once it wears out.
The price to install artificial turf is staggering. Particularly in these economic times, our money should be spent on fields that help our youth and adult players stay active without putting their health or the environment at risk.
CONSTRUCTION COST COMPARISON
"The average synthetic turf field can cost anywhere from $850,000 to $1,000,000 to implement." - Brian Wolfson, Duke University Soccer Politics Blog, 2015
Equipment, supplies, and labor costs can range from $23,250-$127,00 for synthetic turf, and from $42,800-$205,500 for natural grass. Equipment costs can be less for synthetic fields than for grass fields, but schools usually already have natural grass equipment. Synthetic turf equipment is another additional cost for those considering replacing their natural field.
It is a myth that synthetic fields require less maintenance than natural turfgrass fields or that synthetic turf fields are maintenance free. Synthetic fields require: additional infill, irrigation because of unacceptably high temperatures on warm-sunny days, chemical disinfectants, sprays to reduce static cling and odors, drainage repair and maintenance, erasing and repainting temporary lines and removing organic matter accumulation.
"Maintaining a natural grass field is slightly more expensive than a turf field, but not by a significant margin. Plus, if one takes into consideration the $500,000 that must be paid every 8-10 years to replace the carpet of an artificial turf field, and the fact that it is at least $250,000 more expensive to implement, then using natural grass ends up being cheaper in the short and long run."
- Brian Wolfson, Duke University Soccer Politics Blog, 2015 (Duke University maintains real grass fields--check them out here.)
The Michigan State University Certified Sports Turf Manager cited that the typical annual maintenance costs of her [synthetic] turf fields ranged from $13,720-$39,220, while the typical annual maintenance costs of her natural turf fields had a similar range of $8,133-$48,960. -- Experts Spell Out The True Cost of Synthetic Turf Maintenance (2005)
MAINTENANCE COST COMPARISONS
MAINTENANCE COST COMPARISON: CASE STUDY
COST COMPARISON FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY
COST OF SYNTHETIC HIGHER THAN GRASS
Source note: This chart is derived from the costs of installing and maintaining both artificial turf and natural grass fields in Montgomery County, Maryland created to calculate the true cost of ownership to a school district (and the state from whom funding was sought) in converting 21 high school fields from grass fields (none of which are currently properly built nor properly maintained) into artificial turf fields. The costs for grass fields assume each school field would need to be completely rebuilt, so the costs are the highest range, while the cost for a new artificial turf field over the two life cycles of these fields is a guess due to rising material costs, changing technology and the actual timing of breakdown of the fields which makes it impossible to know when they will fail or the cost to replace at the time each fails.
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