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VSHS leaders hope fund-raising efforts will make the turf project a reality this summer.

Vinton-Shellsburg High School Football Coach Jim Womochil told the audience at his first meeting two years ago that one of his five-year goals was to replace the grass turf of football field with an artificial turf that soccer and other school teams and classes could use.

Now, Womochil and other VSHS leaders are hoping a local fund-raising effort will make that field a reality this year.

A letter sent to area businesses explains the project: “The scope of the project is to replace the current football field with beautiful field turf and to replace the track with a new surface by the beginning of the 2014 football season.”

The VS School Board has dedicated $600,000 from the PPEL funds (which are used solely for school facilities, not teacher salaries) toward the project.

The track resurfacing is planned for this summer; the school board will review bids during its April meeting.

The turf replacement depends on fund-raising; the cost of the new turf and related expenses is estimated at around $600,000. School leaders have invited area businesses to help fund the project as sponsors who would be recognized with 3 x 12 foot signs set up around the field. The next phase of the fund-raiser is to invite the members of the community to donate. Each VSHS family is receiving a brochure explaining the project.


District leaders say that in addition to “curb appeal” – a more beautiful facility – the project offers many other opportunities, including the chance to host marching band competitions, district soccer and track events, as well as youth football and soccer activities. More Booster Club revenue is also expected, along with the projected savings of $10,000 per year which the district currently spends on watering, mowing and painting the grass.


School leaders also say the new turf will offer safer playing conditions.

Studies published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine have shown that playing on artificial turf offers several benefits over natural grass, including:

· 12 percent fewer concussions

· 55 percent fewer neural injuries

· 40 percent less lower ACL trauma

· 32 percent fewer ligament tears

· 45 percent less time lost to long-term injuries (those lasting more than three weeks)

· 35 percent less time lost to short-term injuries (those lasting one or two days).

'Something great for community'

“I think it’s something great for the community,” said Womochil. “Obviously it will benefit football, track, soccer and band, as well as PE.

Other area high schools that have recently changed to artificial turf include Benton Community, Clear Creek-Amana, Solon and Dyersville Beckman . Independence is also in the process of updating its athletic facilities and installing new turf.

“This seems to be the big movement among area high schools,” said Womochil, adding that the impact of many teams using the same grass field for practices often leaves that field in a condition that makes using it difficult or unsafe.

Also, said the coach, the ability to host district events would mean more revenue to the school, Booster Club concession stands and the community.

“District events bring people to town, and those people wil eat and shop here,” he said.

Donation information

Click HERE to see the brochure and HERE to see and print the donation form. While there is no deadline for accepting donations, school officials are asking area residents to return the donation forms by April 9.

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Comments (3)

I am all for the turf field idea and I hope they get the money they need. But please lets switch the home team bleachers to the west side of the field!
By: Rob Ott on March 22nd 9:25am
I too am all for the turf field and I also think it should be done now when the track is being done in order for it to be more cost effective rather than to wait until later. I also agree with Robb. I will donate to the project either way but I would pledge more to doing it the right way.
By: Bryan Edwards on March 24th 8:31am
I will back your new field as long as you can give everyone down the creek from the field that they will never get water ever again in their house and the school still owes me some trees since they was on my lot.
By: Tom Schoonover on March 24th 10:28pm

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