New field, track for Kentwood High

Next year Kentwood sports teams will be able to play under the lights at home on a safe and functional field

This fall Kentwood High sports teams will be playing under the lights at home.

As part of the Kent School District’s reallocation of $15.95 million in construction bonds from 2006 the high school will receive a new synthetic football field, new track, field lights and a scoreboard this summer. The total cost for the project is about $3 million.

“The reason they (the school board) decided to do it now is because it has been long overdue,” said David Lutes, the district athletic director. “We are the only high schools in the South Sound that had grass fields.”

Lutes also cited increasing safety concerns related to the field as a driver for getting the work on the new field.

“Our fields were getting to a deteriorated condition where we needed to address them,” Lutes said.

Kentwood athletic director Jo Anne Daughtry said that shin splints are the most common injury they were seeing among athletes participating on the school’s field.

“We were having so many injuries. We couldn’t compete on (the track) but we could practice,” Daughtry said. “There were places where it was down to the cement and there’s cracks, so the layer that is supposed to be on top of the cement had been compromised so much.”

With the safer surface for athletes will also come expanded field use opportunities.

Next year boys and girls soccer games will be played at home in addition to junior varsity and ninth grade football games.

Varsity football games will continue to be at French Field in Kent. The location of next year’s track meets has yet to be determined. Daughtry said she expects that the community use of the field will increase as well.

Demolition of the current field and track begins May 13 and school officials hope the project will be completed by the time football season starts Aug. 20.

“Unlike Kentlake where they already had turf, they have to put in an E layer which is all the drainage and the foundation of having a turf field,” Daughtry said. “They aren’t doing an overspray on the track, they are actually ripping the track out.”

The school board approved the reallocation of a $15.9 million bond intended to partly fund the building of the new Covington Elementary School at its Feb. 13 meeting. Instead the bond was broken up into 14 district-wide recommended projects.

Also part of the bond reallocation, during the summer of 2014 Kentridge’s field and track will receive a similar treatment. Together both projects will total just over $7 million.

During the summer of 2012 the field at Kentlake was replaced and lights were installed. This year the track will be recoated. The cost of the Kentlake project was less because the school already had a turf field, the top surface just had to be replaced, Lutes said.

“The lights were a real bonus for us because it gave us more flexibility to schedule soccer and football pactice,” said Bruce Rick, Kentlake’s athletic director. “The district decided if we were going to replace the field to do the whole ball of wax.”

Lutes said the source of funding for the Kentlake project was also from repurposed bond funds.

“It (the funding) was originally to address some drainage issues on the Kent-Meridian grass fields,” Lutes said.

According to Lutes, at the time the district had been in talks with the city of Kent to jointly replace some of the grass fields at Kent-Meridian.

“It wouldn’t make sense to spend $400,000 to $500,000 on an irrigation project if three or four years later we were going to do synthetic fields,” Lutes said. “That project has since fallen through.”

The average life of a synthetic field is 12 to 15 years. The previous Kentlake field lasted 16 years.

“I think the community benefits geatly from having each high school being able to take on community activities,” Lutes said. “This is really going to help our youth programs. It might open it up for other types of activitie as well.”



Reach Katherine Smith or 425-432-1209 ext. 5052.