Field turf debate continues

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Airline took on Captain Shreve last week. Airline High School is one of the stadiums that would receive a synthetic turf upgrade if the school board agrees to install them at local high schools in Bossier Parish.
Amanda Simmons
amanda@bossierpress.com

The pursuit for artificial turf football fields has taken a step backward.

A vote by the Bossier Parish School Board sent the item back to committee for discussion instead of moving forward with the bid process. Board member Shane Cheatham (Dist. 11) made the motion in the building and grounds committee, but said he would be voting against it.

“I would like to revisit this and get a little more research before our next building and grounds committee meeting,” Cheatham said.
Board Vice President Frank Kelly (Dist. 3) said the committee’s motion was not specific enough. He urged the committee to come back with a timeline, number of fields, and how it would be financed.

The original motion did, however, specify that schools with an attendance of 700 students or more would be part of this project. Kenneth Wiggins (Dist. 8) was not in favor of this, saying that limiting it to a particular population would exclude Plain Dealing High/Middle School.

Board President Sandra “Samm” Darby (Dist. 10) said she is still concerned about the board’s focus on athletics vs. academics.

“I think we need to look closely at our needs that we have right now for our schools and then, if we have money left and not taking it from another area that has needs, maybe we can come up with a better plan,” Darby said.

Dennis Bamburg (Dist. 12), who is chairman of the building and grounds committee, said he would be voting against it at the board meeting, but is still heavily in favor of artificial turf fields.

“I think we’ve done very good academically. Athletically, though, we are behind,” Bamburg said. “I am voting no just to open it back up for discussion and hopefully we can come back with more specificity on how to get this done.”

The building and grounds committee will met Tuesday, Nov. 15, to discuss the item further. Follow us as we update any further action or decisions regarding this item.