Install artificial turf at Marietta High’s Northcutt Stadium
December 16, 2013 11:30 PM | 2762 views | 5 5 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The decision on the field surface at Northcutt Stadium, where the Marietta High School Blue Devils play their home games, must follow the same decision making process we take on other critical aspects of the stadium renovation, and balance current and future benefits to the school system and larger community. For this project these include the lighting, sound system, seating, locker rooms, concessions, parking and other areas that directly contribute to the future success and viability of this venue for Marietta City.

The architect and contractor will be utilizing modern materials and technology with clear objectives to both continue preserving the rich tradition of Friday night games at Northcutt, while improving the overall experience for the players, students, and fans for years to come.

In this process many factors need to be evaluated, and they should consider utility, performance, economics, and yes, historic integrity. All things being equal, it would be reasonable to conclude if natural grass and turf were equivalent on all critical aspects, grass should be the clear choice.

However, in this instance they are not. The new generation of synthetic turf products demonstrates clear advantages in the areas of costs of ownership, utility and wear, lower maintenance, durability and even aesthetics. The field surface is consistent event-to-event, can be played on year-round in all weather and looks as good in January as it does in August. Its ability to increase the usability of the field for other school and community events is a big advantage, and as our football and other field programs expand, we will only benefit from having a field that can accommodate this increased and diverse utilization.

Our Marietta coaches favor turf, the financial analysis favors turf, and the athletic directors in our neighboring school systems favor turf after having done their own analysis. While there are still some grass fields being installed, synthetic turf is now the field of choice for new construction and renovations at high schools nationwide.

Tradition should be commemorated in the legacy of the articulated stone wall, plaques, the bell, those great individuals that first built Northcutt, and all the athletes who played there. We are a school system that has prided itself on our rich history, but also in realizing when change is necessary, and then consciously taking the decision that benefits our stakeholders in the near and long term.

Turf will not destroy that legacy, but rather build on the tradition of a city that celebrates its past as well as its future.

Thomas Cheater

Marietta City Schools Board of Education

Vice Chair

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Agree !
December 18, 2013
The oldest continually operating college stadium in the country is Bobby Dodd stadium at Georgia Tech.

That storied field is artificial turf today.
Rats GT
December 19, 2013
Strange, the GT athletics web site states the surface is grass.

Apparently they put in Astro-turf in the 1980s and have since ripped it up and gone back to grass about 2002.

Melanie Crissey
December 17, 2013
I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. Cheater.

There are few things in life that smell more delicious than that Northcutt grass on Homecoming night.

While the Stadium could stand many amenity improvements, I can hardly see how installing astro-turf would improve the Northcutt experience for the fans.
Tommy Foster
December 17, 2013
You make a great argument for artificial turf at the Whitlock campus. That is where the year-round use and wear and tear is, not at Northcutt Stadium.

The playing surface is the MOST CRITICAL element in maintaining the historic integrity of the site. Almost every historic athletic facility in the country uses natural grass.

While artificial turf can be aesthetically pleasing to the eye in a newer environment, it would look hideously out of place between the rocks.

Tacky would be a better and more succinct description.

Tommy Foster

Blue Devil Class of '81
Guido Sarducci
December 17, 2013
Seems that you have been listening to the same song and dance, from Tim Lee, that the Cobb School Board swallowed hook, line and sinker. A lot of people have done their homework on this issue. you do well to listen to them.

There are a boatload of hidden costs associated with this product. Wise up. Protect the taxpayers, go with the grass.

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