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Glenbard West turf project unfolds
By Marco Santana | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/18/2010 12:06 AM

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Glenbard High School District 87 officials said they will pay for their portion of a $1.6 million project to install synthetic turf at Glenbard West's Memorial Field through a combination of vendor contracts and savings related to the new turf.

The district's cost is estimated to be $913,000, with the remaining money to be paid for by community organizations and family pass sales. The Glen Ellyn Park District committed $20,000 a year for the next eight years to the project.

Meanwhile, boosters and supporters of the new turf in two months have raised about two-thirds of their expected commitment of roughly $330,000.

They have until Feb. 5 to raise the rest of the money as the district wants the project ready for the fall school year.

During a presentation at district headquarters Friday, Glenbard West Principal Jane Thorsen said the school needs the turf for many reasons, including competition and the bad conditions of Duchon Field during inclement weather. She also said that the number of athletic programs at the school has made the need even more severe.

"We have reached a critical juncture," she said. "We are out of field space."

The school offers 29 levels of sports, including a recently added girls lacrosse team. Currently, many of the teams use park district fields for practice. After school, athletes are bused to the fields.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Chris McClain said eliminating this need by making Memorial Field usable throughout the year would save the district about $293,000 over the eight-year period. Also, he estimated maintenance costs would be reduced by $10,000 per year. That money would be redirected to the project.

Mark Flynn, a Glenbard West parent involved with the boosters, said their fundraising efforts have raised roughly $200,000 since they began in November. He said the district told them that bids will not be sought until the entire community portion of funding is in the bank.

The model in place is similar to the one being used to install turf at Glenbard North High School. In that one, the Carol Stream Park District will pay for 50 percent of the $1.3 million estimated price tag and boosters will pay for 17 percent, with the district picking up the rest of the tab.

Thorsen said the park district's involvement and the money that would have been spent on maintaining withering fields and now-unnecessary busing makes the project doable even in the present economy.

"We have a funding model using a majority of cost savings and partnerships to find the money to make the project a reality," she said.