Madison referendum money helps Mansfield Stadium renovations | #schoolsaftey

One phase of the Madison School District’s $317 million referendum was completed and extra money was raised to ensure student-athletes’ safety.

A referendum passed in 2020 provided funds for new field turf at Mansfield Stadium that uses wood chips and allows multiple high school football, soccer and track teams to use the facilities. The stadium located at Madison Memorial High School gets use during the day from physical education classes, district athletic director Jeremy Schlitz said.

“It was the health benefits, but also the durability because of the amount of use,” he said. “… It’s the number of games we play at that stadium, and the technology advancements makes sense from both ongoing costs in terms of field maintenance and the safety and durability.”

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Both Madison West and Memorial have athletic teams that use the stadium which is 55 years old after it opened in 1968. On average, the facility hosts 10 home football games, 16 home soccer games and 10 track meets each year.

The referendum covered $615,000 of the renovations and fundraising covered the $117,670 it cost to upgrade the turf from rubber pellet infill to the BrockFill infill and Brock shock pad, Schlitz said.

Mansfield Stadium

Woodchips are the infill of the new turf field at Mansfield Stadium at Madison Memorial High School.

The infill is an engineered wood particle that’s designed for traction and to reduce heat, BrockFill’s website said. It’s also made from a species of southern pine.

“The reason we moved to this product was really a couple things: The environmental impact, it’s got a lower carbon footprint and it doesn’t use any non-recyclable materials, so it’s not using the micro-plastics,” Schlitz said. “That’s an added benefit, but I think from an athletic standpoint, the reason we did it was that it had a reduced heat (of 20-50 degrees). Heat often times on turf has an increase in heat similar to asphalt would, where this one actually doesn’t do that because of the water that engineered wood product takes in.”

Schlitz said the shock pad that is underneath the turf “has the lowest g-max (95), which is the impact standard we talk about on concussions and lower-extremity was why we chose that for safety.”

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The turf leads to less spending on field maintenance, both regular tasks such as mowing but also when there is inclement weather that would cause postponements and practices to move.

“It still requires maintenance, but you don’t have to deal with pulling up grass, which tears apart the fields or fear it will brown out in the fall and wait for it to come back,” Schlitz said. “Obviously, you’re not using the fertilizer and herbicides that you were to maintain that. You still do need to brush and groom the infill to keep it a level and safe playing surface.”

Another part of the spending plan geared toward athletics was new pools at West and Madison East. Though those swim teams were displaced to start the fall season, leaving them to practice and host home meets at community pools.

Mansfield Stadium

Madison Memorial students walk around the track as a warmup for a physical education class on Sept. 21.

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