HWDSB Announces Move to Artificial Turf Fields at All Secondary Schools
Hamilton, Ontario – June 18, 2019: Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Trustees approved to change all remaining secondary school fields from natural grass to artificial turf. Saltfleet and Glendale secondary schools will remain natural fields at this time to honour the commitments in progress.
“The strong work of our Facilities Management department, through their Secondary Field Strategy, has provided us the opportunity to move our secondary school fields to artificial turf,” said Alex Johnstone, Chair of the Board. “Our experience with existing artificial turf projects, as well as our financial prudence related to field revitalization, affords us the opportunity to set a new direction for our fields.”
There are four secondary schools scheduled for artificial fields – Bernie Custis, Nora Frances Henderson, Sir Winston Churchill and Waterdown. Sir Winston Churchill’s field opened this past September, while work on Waterdown’s field is in progress. Nora Frances Henderson’s field will be constructed with the new school and the Bernie Custis field is planned in partnership with the City of Hamilton.
As Trustees exercise fiscal restraint in challenging times, funds to move fields to artificial turf will be done through existing Capital funds outlined in the Facilities Master Plan. The budget allocation will not exceed the $55 total allocation for secondary facility benchmarks, which includes science labs, learning commons, sports fields and gymnasium floors. The timelines to construct the fields, however, will be extended. Schools with artificial turf fields will also increase the Board’s community use potential.
“We have heard from our students and communities that they want and support artificial turf fields,” said Johnstone. “The previous Board decision in 2014 to approve four artificial fields was done in a diligent manner. We have learned a lot about the difference between natural grass and artificial turf and we can move forward in changing our direction with confidence.”
Staff will report back to Trustees with an updated Secondary Field Strategy in the fall to outline the school schedule. Staff will include a long-term plan that Trustees will review to renew fields that have already been completed or that are in progress. Natural turf fields include Dundas Valley Secondary School, Glendale Secondary School, Saltfleet Secondary School and Westdale Secondary School.
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Shawn McKillop, APR
Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
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