Questions arise on artificial turf in Silsbee

Superintendent hopeful that some day district will be able to purchase it for Tiger Stadium

By Daniel Elizondo

Many at Tiger Stadium were disappointed on several plays that saw football players from both Silsbee and Newton sliding for their lives on Friday, Sept. 2.

For many skill players, footing was a problem, however, it is duly noted that the area has received an exorbitant amount of rain in the last several months.

“When we did a core test to resurface the track, the engineers found water at about a foot deep,” Silsbee Superintendent Richard Bain said. “It was coming up like crude oil. It’s just one of those things that is indicative of our area.”

At the first home game of the season on Sept. 2, the turf was no match for the athletes on the field, with divots flying around from the onset of kickoff like it was raining sod.

Players were often dejected slapping the ball to the ground in frustration.

Silsbee is looking for better field conditions on Friday night when the Tigers take on rival Jasper. Kickoff is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Bain said the district has contemplated artificial turf, and looked into it extensively several years ago.

However, after researching and testing on the field, a $700,000 project would turn into a $1.2 million project to get the field up to standards for artificial turf.

“When you start looking at that amount of money, you realize that we have to justify our spending,” Bain said. “There are other areas of our district that need things that cost money as well.”

The district found out the hard way on what is underneath Tiger Stadium when engineers began testing to resurface the track.

Bain said water had destroyed the under layers of the track, forcing the district to go from resurfacing to completely replacing the track, skyrocketing the cost to nearly $750,000.

“This is what we are dealing with when it comes to the sod,” Bain said. “We have a huge amount of water beneath the sod, and it will cost a lot to fix the drainage underneath.”

Bain did add that when constructing the track, the district opted to include an inside curb along the track around the field, which is what would be needed for artificial turf.

This week, the field got a big overhaul when a groundskeeping firm was sub-contracted by Silsbee ISD to fix the damage from last Friday’s game.

“There is a huge difference in just one week’s work,” Bain said. “These guys did a tremendous job getting the field ready for Friday.”

Bain said the sub-contractors work on Buna and Kirbyville fields, and they feel the field can get back to a better root system in time with their work.

The district will most likely rely on this firm for its work since artificial turf isn’t coming in the near future, but Bain said that the option to look isn’t out of the picture.

“We’re still going to explore the idea in the future, but for now, we will get the field back in shape with the help of our sub-contractors,” Bain said.

Twitter: @dtelizondo

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