Fiscal Year 2018 → Question 1
BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: 8-59
The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) standard for high school stadium fields is a natural grass surface with an irrigation system. Stadium fields require a high level of maintenance that includes regular cycles of mowing, watering, fertilization, and aeration to maintain the fields in acceptable condition for various high school athletic events. Unfortunately, the majority of high schools and their Booster Clubs cannot make the financial commitment that is necessary to maintain a natural grass field in excellent playing condition. Therefore, there is a large disparity in the condition of stadium fields across the county.
The Department of Facilities Management (DFM) and the Interscholastic Athletics Unit staff have evaluated the use of artificial turf for MCPS high school stadium fields. Artificial turf provides a safe and durable surface for various athletic events and requires very little maintenance. The installation of artificial turf fields will eliminate the disparity in the condition of stadium fields among high schools across the county. The life expectancy of artificial turf fields is approximately ten years. The ten-year life-cycle cost to install artificial turf is approximately the same as the ten-year life-cycle cost to install and properly maintain a natural grass field.
A turf reserve fund has been created to build up funds necessary to cover future replacement of artificial turf after ten years. The source of funding for this reserve fund is a portion of the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB) fees that are charged for the rental of these turf fields, and the funds budgeted in the interscholastic athletics account that will no longer be needed to maintain the natural turf fields.
During development of the FY 2014 budget, DFM estimated that annual payments of approximately $40,000 will be received from the ICB for the turf reserve fund. Since there was excess appropriation available in the Field Trip Fund, appropriation was moved from the Field Trip Fund to the Real Estate Management Fund to cover the $40,000 that will be received from the ICB in FY 2014.