Mona Shores plan would upgrade football stadium to artificial turf

The Mona Shores soccer field has seen a lot of use over the years, especially with the Sailors’ deep playoff runs more recently, when they drove to Ford Field three times in a row and won state championships in a row.

The natural grass surface in the Sailor Stadium has been hit. It is time to upgrade, according to a recent memo from Mona Shores School Board President Stan Miller to the school community.

A movement to install artificial turf at the Sailor Stadium is underway. If the Mona Shores Board of Education grants final approval, construction of the multi-purpose facility may be scheduled for summer 2022, according to the memo.

During their January meeting, the Mona Shores School Board approved the sale of the district’s EBS Spectrum license for some broadcast frequencies that had not been used for many years. This sale brings with it a one-time source of income that would make it possible to upgrade the Sailor Stadium’s playing surface with minimal taxpayers’ money. Of course, this assumes that the current construction projects go as planned.

According to Mona Shores superintendent Bill O’Brien, the turf project would cost between $ 800,000 and $ 1 million, including drainage and construction.

The purposes of the new turf include daily football training, which frees the practice fields for other purposes. Band exercises and the ability to host band competitions; Football training when teams need to prepare for away games on grass; Lacrosse practices and games; Youth and middle school sports; Physical education and community use.

“One of the biggest attractions for us is probably the opportunity to have band competitions in our field. Right now we can’t do that – you can’t do that with a natural lawn, ”O’Brien told MLive. “As it is, our band trains in a parking lot because they can’t train on the soccer field. Our soccer team cannot use it. We’re really excited about it because it expands who can use it.

“You know, we pride ourselves on being an arts, academics, and athletics district and having it all (is the goal). PE classes (would) use it five hours a day; at the moment they cannot. “

Thousands of people attended Friday’s game at Sailor Stadium on October 18, 2019.Kayla Renie | MLive.com

In November 2018, voters approved a $ 93 million 30-year loan to upgrade all six Mona Shores buildings, plus some theater and sports facility modernizations excluding the playing area at Sailor Stadium.

A document linked in Miller’s memo, Sailor Stadium Artificial Turf Rationale 2021, states that the turf playing surface at Sailor Stadium had a long history of problems, dating back to the early 2000s when it was at one point for a homecoming game will be painted green.

In Miller’s memo, it was estimated that Sailor Stadium would be used approximately 42 days per year on its current surface, but that it could be used up to 275 days per year if it had artificial turf.

The Mona Shores soccer team made history on January 16 when they first hosted a state semi-final game at Sailor Stadium. That week and on the morning of the game, the school crew worked feverishly, with the support of dozens of volunteers, to clear snow and make the surface playable. The Sailors rallied after a 10-point halftime deficit and defeated Traverse City Central (43:30) to stamp their ticket for Ford Field for the third straight season.

Six days later, Mona Shores defeated Warren De La Salle (25:19) for the second title in a row in Division 2.

O’Brien said that a new press box for Sailor Stadium is also pending for the summer of 2022, but it would be funded by bonds and separated from the turf project.

O’Brien said a turf installment project would take about six to eight weeks. It would start in June when school dropped out for the summer and would be finished in the first week of August to prepare for the fall season.

“Artificial turf will also provide a surface that reflects the quality of our district and our football team,” the memo says.

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