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AC Flora has a new $728,190 sporting field and right now no one can use it

Published: Feb. 22, 2019 at 9:29 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There’s brand new $728,190 sporting field out at AC Flora and right now, no one can use.

Parents are upset because their kids have worked hard to balance school and sports, and they were hopeful that they’d get to show off their talents on this field that was unveiled in the spring-summer of last year.

But on February 12th, the district announced that the field would be closed indefinitely.

The field is used for lacrosse, soccer, and football, and parents say other schools in the area have allowed AC Flora to practice and play at their facilities. But parents say it can be a hassle bussing over the students, and they don’t want the kids who drive maneuvering on the highways late at night.

“Right now, the lacrosse team is playing their home games at Eau Claire High School,” said parent Melissa Irvin. “Which we are very grateful for however some of the time, they’re being bussed out there, some of the time they’re not. Which is a concern for parents because we have teenage drivers getting on I-20 and I-77 after dark.”

The district says there weren’t any injuries caused in relation to the issues with the synthetic field, and they had to shut it down because it needs more filling of a substance that provides the texture of dirt. Parents would like to see that fixed sooner rather than later.

“There needed to be some infill put in place,” Raymond Perkins the Director of Facility Services said. “It was not an issue that would prevent us from using it, but it was something that needed to occur.”

Essentially, the district says the synthetic field uses a mixture of a sand-type material and coconut fiber to create the texture of dirt. What they need now, is for that to be refilled.

“We’re hoping that the district can have a temporary fix so we can get those kids back on the field this spring,” said parent Lorien Owens. “So they can play their games at ‘home,’ but we’re also looking for a long term solution.”

The district says they’re working for a permanent fix, and that it will not be at the expense of parents or taxpayers.

“Whatever is done, is going to be at the expense of the vendor,” Perkins said.

The company that installed the turf is called First Form and appears to be headquartered in Illinois. In addition to AC Flora, FirstForm has already laid down turf at five other fields in Richland District 1, and are slated to install at two other schools in the future.

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