The Kalispell school district is accepting public comment on a proposal to replace the football field in Legends Stadium with synthetic turf. The recommendation is part of the district’s renovation of the stadium, which was part of the 2016 bond approval.
The district received voter approval to spend an estimated $958,000 to renovate the high school stadium, which both Flathead and Glacier utilize for sporting events.
As part of the renovation, a 12-member subcommittee overseeing the project is recommending the removal of the existing field and replacing it with synthetic turf, or artificial grass. If approved, the artificial turf could allow the district to host more events and sports at the stadium and could address safety concerns. According to research, the rate of injuries and concussions is lower on artificial turf than natural grass.
The pole vault runway and pad would need to be moved to the south end of the complex. The cost would be neutral for the district, according to the committee. Maintenance costs would go down significantly, but the new surface would need to be replaced every 10-12 years at a rough cost estimate of $550,000, according to administrators.
Other schools with artificial turf include Billings, Butte, Missoula and soon to be Great Falls.
Public comment is being accepted through Feb. 10. Comments can be submitted online at sd5.k12.mt.us, or by mailing the district, Beth Kornick, Kalispell Public Schools, 233 First Ave. E., Kalispell, MT 49901, or by emailing email@example.com.