Facility Profile - March 2006
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Home Turf

Renaissance High School

By Charles Upchurch

The NFL Grassroots Program is funded by the NFL Youth Football Fund, a $150 million nonprofit foundation established by the NFL and NFLPA to support youth football. Since 1998 the NFL Grassroots Program has provided more than $15.2 million to help community organizations build, or rebuild, 135 youth fields in more than 40 cities, typically in neighborhoods where funding sources are few and far between.

"These play fields represent critical building blocks in the structure of every community," says Anika Goss-Foster, Detroit LISC's senior program director. "They become centers for community activity and give children a place to play and learn. No neighborhood is complete without them."

GST, which works with clients throughout the United States, is particularly proud of the work it has done in its home territory.

"Our base here in the Detroit area has allowed us to work with cities and schools that badly needed new or upgraded athletic facilities to remain competitive and enhance the quality of life in the community," Jordan says. "In markets all across the country, we're finding sports administrators that are aware and excited about the benefits of infill synthetic turf."

Infill turf systems use a combination of densely massed polyethylene fibers, infilled with a base material such as granulated rubber, which settles among the fibers to simulate a naturally forgiving soil surface. The rubber infill material is made from recycled automobile tires. GST, for example, works with Ford Motor Company Company's Environmental Program. The field at Renaissance High School used 252,211 pounds of rubber, keeping 12,610 tires from ending up in landfills.

Cutting-edge turf products also include sophisticated drainage systems, designed to redistribute as much as 14 inches of rain per hour. There is no need for fertilizers or pesticides that can seep into the water table or gasoline-powered mowers to maintain the field. These fields require minimal maintenance and provide schools or communities with a playing surface that can be used all day, every day, incurring very little visible wear. All-rubber systems can sustain less fiber erosion over time and provide consistent performance under varying weather conditions.

GST is currently working on the next generation of synthetic turf systems in partnership with Michigan State University, harvesting data from biomechanical performance testing related to state-of-the-art, infilled athletic surfaces. The results, expected to be available later this year, will help guide development of both general and sports-specific synthetic turf products.

Meanwhile, students at Renaissance and Martin Luther King High Schools in Detroit are able to enjoy athletic fields that are Super Bowl-worthy.


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