Contractor swap delays opening of turf field at Crimson Cliffs High School

Crimson Cliffs High School's new turf field will use the latest technology to reduce injuries and concussions, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Submitted photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — When Crimson Cliffs High School opened its doors for the first time Aug. 12, construction on the school was finished, except for the turf field on campus.

The turf field was originally scheduled to be completed in time for the athletics events scheduled for the Thursday and Friday after school started.

“The biggest issue we had is, they had forgotten to incorporate the soccer lines into the field,” said Steve Dunham, Washington County School District communications director. “The version we approved included the soccer lines, so they had to make modifications to that.”

The construction continued, but the Mustangs were forced to change subcontractors after the original company quit.

The field being installed at Crimson Cliffs uses coconut husk, the newest turf technology. The director of construction informed Dunham that there is no rubber being used on the field. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but the coconut padding reduces the risk of injuries, according to the director of construction. These turf fields have a similar longevity compared to rubber turf.

“We want to make sure it’s the safest for the students,” Dunham said.

On its website, the new subcontractor, First Form, states the following about the turf material:

Our Eco-Safe infill mimics the true evaporative cooling effects of a natural grass dirt-and-root system reducing surface temperatures by 35 (degrees) or more. It is positioned deep down within densely packed blades of PrimePlay® Replicated Grass, virtually eliminating the infill fly-out that comes with traditional artificial turf products, allowing for true ball bounce, ball roll, and ball speed of the best natural grass fields. Our completely rubber-free infill is a proprietary composite of organic and non-organic particles featuring Hydrated Coconut Husk, which provides the look and feel, and traction, of the best natural grass fields. The problem is tire particles breakdown over time into ultra-fine particles that are inhalable and respirable. There are chemicals in the particulates, including mercury, lead, benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and arsenic, among several other chemicals, heavy metals, and carcinogens that get absorbed into children.

Gmax testing, which rates how impact-friendly the field is, was completed on the turf at Crimson Cliffs. This takes into account how hard the surface would be if someone were to make contact with the playing surface, and the Mustangs’ field doesn’t go over 80. A field with a higher Gmax rating will be less receptive to force, which creates a harder impact for the athletes. A lower Gmax score reduces the risk of concussions and creates a safer playing environment for the athletes. According to Brock, a turf provider, natural grass ranges from 70-115 on the same scale.

Crimson Cliffs High School’s new turf field will use the latest technology to reduce injuries and concussions, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Submitted photo, St. George News

“If you went from our first turf field we put in at Dixie, to the one they just received, there is an increase in improvement because there are new technologies,” Dunham said. “As we have the opportunity to upgrade fields, we’ll see how this technology performs, and we’ll have a baseline that we can establish.”

Dunham says, with no firm completion date for the field, Crimson Cliffs will continue to play their home games elsewhere.

You have to work however you can, and fortunately, we have good community partners,” he said. “It takes the partnerships with other entities in the community to make this work out when you have a situation like this.”

Crimson Cliffs’ girls soccer team was originally slated to play two home games this week. However, the Lady Mustangs faced Cedar Tuesday night at the Little Valley Fields, with Cedar winning 4-1. Meanwhile, Thursday’s contest against Desert Hills has been switched to Desert Hills High, with the game starting at 7:30 p.m.

As for the football team, their first scheduled home game was supposed to be Friday. The venue has been changed, and the Mustangs will be taking on Canyon View at Trailblazer Stadium on the Dixie State University campus, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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