What Obama Needs Most: A New Field

What Obama Needs Most: A New Field

2/23/22, Isaiah Trumbull (Sophomore)

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that schools around the country have received millions of dollars in federal aid. $130 billion was allocated by the American Rescue Plan alone, with Pittsburgh Public Schools recently coming into over $100 million. This money comes with short deadlines and a spend or return policy. School districts around the country have been asking themselves how to spend money that cannot be used for long-term salaries or extended projects. The district is already investing in amazing goals and initiatives, but one other answer jumps out—the Obama sports field.

Obama Academy’s field is important for the school and the community. Being one of the few outdoor spaces the school possesses, it is an important asset for sports teams and kids who want to get outside. The broader community is also able to use the field during football events on the weekends.

Credit: Aavin Mangalmurti

In its short history, Obama Academy has always had good sports teams. It consistently ranks among the best in football and soccer, but low maintenance has left it in disrepair. The grass in many areas has died, there are ruts and irregularities in the dirt, and the scoreboard—better described as a hunk of rust—is a relic from a bygone era. These issues have meant that regular use of the field has declined. The soccer team hasn’t used the field in over a year and has transferred practices to U-Prep’s field. 

     The solution to Obama Academy’s field lies in artificial turf. This is a tried-and-true strategy. High schools around the country are building more and more fields with turf as it offers far more advantages than regular grass. For starters, artificial turf has a low maintenance cost compared to grass fields. Artificial fields do not require mowing, seeding, watering, painting of lines, or pesticides. These factors mean that artificial fields are meaningful (and profitable) investments for schools that choose to build them. Artificial fields also have benefits not related to finances. Players can safely fall on turf compared to rock-hard dirt. Year-round activity is made possible as players are able to play in conditions like rain and snow without destroying the surface. Finally, turf can endure almost limitless playing time while grass often needs recovery time. Artificial turf is a sound financial investment, increases player safety, and provides more use scenarios for individuals and teams.

     The field is one of our most important assets, but it has fallen into disrepair and is unsafe for players. This provides an amazing opportunity for the installation of artificial turf. There is a lot of money floating around with short fuses, and an investment in our field would provide long-term value to the school and the community.

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