STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — Burnet school district officials were probably expecting to get more than two years from the synthetic turf installed at Bulldog Field in 2015, but that didn’t happen and it’s now set the district back $150,000.
Burnet Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Keith McBurnett, however, said the district is looking to get $105,000 back from one manufacturer.
Last year, officials noticed some turf fibers sticking up higher than others, so they took a closer look, McBurnett said.
“To most people, it probably wasn’t noticeable,” he said. “We had all the experts look at the field, and they looked at the backside. It needed to be replaced.”
Officials determined the problem was the elastic layer (e-layer) shock pad, which goes underneath the artificial turf but above the base or sub-base.
The e-layer provides some shock absorption for the athletes as well as helps maximize the performance and longevity of the surface.
The district believes the original shock pad and the Greenfields turf installed in 2015 were interacting in a way that caused degradation of the turf’s backing, which led to fiber loss.
Symmetry Turf installed the new e-layer shock pad at a cost of $150,000; however, Burnet CISD is requesting compensation of $105,000 from the original shock pad manufacturer.
“We picked up the tab on replacing the shock pad,” McBurnett said. “(Symmetry) is seen as the best shock pad on the market today.”
Greenfields and Symmetry Turf partnered to install the new turf and honor the warranty. In a statement, district officials said the original manufacturer hasn’t offered to help resolve the matter.
Therefore, the board of trustees voted to upgrade the shock pad system to a Symmetry E-Layer system instead of one by the original manufacturer.
Repairs on the field began April 24, and crews completed work May 19, five days ahead of schedule.
“I can’t say enough positives about Symmetry Turf,” McBurnett said. “They addressed an issue they weren’t responsible for.”
With the two systems coming from the same company, the new turf shouldn’t face the same problems as the old field surface.
The superintendent said turf experts told the district that the safety of students wouldn’t have been imperiled in the near future, but officials couldn’t get past the potential obstacles that came if the shock layer hadn’t been replaced. In short, the district will not compromise on student safety, McBurnett said.
The first contest held on the new turf won’t be a Bulldogs football game. The Burnet High School Powder Puff football game between the junior and senior girls gets that honor. The game kicks off at 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, at the stadium, 1000 The Green Mile. Graduation is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 26.